23rd July 2016
Great Britain & Ireland retained the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy earlier this week in an exciting match against the Continent of Europe.
The 31st contest in the series was halved 12.5-12.5 at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent but as the holders GB&I were able to keep the Trophy on home soil. It was the first time the match had been halved, GB&I winning 25 times and Europe just five times previously.
Great Britain & Ireland (Photo: Darren Plant)
David BOOTE (WAL) proved to be the hero of the day bravely parring the 18th hole to secure a 1Up win in the final singles game of Day 2 against Spain’s Ivan CANTERO GUTIERREZ (ESP).
GB&I had got off to the worse possible start losing the Day 1 foursomes 0-4. A recovery of sorts looked possible for the home team in the afternoon singles but some late reverses saw Europe rescue a 4-4 series result.
Going into Day 2 behind 4-8 few predicted GB&I could recover the situation. However, a 3.5-1.5 result in the Day 2 foursomes gave the team every reason to believe prior to the 9 singles commencing. The singles were again a rollercoaster affair but GB&I managed to sneak them 5-4 to secure a dramatic half.
Whilst it does not take into account the quality of each player’s opposition it is still interesting to review the high level individual player contributions: –
From a GB&I perspective Scott GREGORY (ENG) and Stuart GREHAN (IRE) were our star men this week securing two singles wins and one foursome success.
Connor SYME (SCO), Jack HUME (IRE), David BOOTE (WAL) and Alfie PLANT (ENG) also played important point scoring roles during the competition.
Jamie BOWER (ENG), Grant FORREST (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) will be disappointed with their contributions.
GB&I and new captain Craig WATSON will no doubt be delighted to retain the St. Andrews Trophy. The Team showed real determination and fight to turn around a horrific start.
However, the reality is this was a disappointing performance and result.
Save for the inclusion of Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) and possibly Ewen FERGUSON (SCO) GB&I were able to put out their strongest team. Europe were sadly not in the same position. Adrian MERONK (POL) and Antoine ROZNER (FRA) would certainly have been included if not for the fixture clash with the European Challenge Tour event in France. Ugo COUSSAUD (FRA) and Gregoire SCHOEB (FRA), also playing in France, would probably have been considered too.
Europe have only won five St. Andrews Trophy matches out of 30, with just one of these victories coming away from the Continent. GB&I clearly have an advantage when playing such matches on links courses which they have far more experience of.
So, harsh as it may seem, I for one am not going to get too excited about a halved home match against a weakened Continent of Europe team. Much improvement will be needed if GB&I are going to give a hurt USA team a match on a parkland course in sunny Los Angeles at the 2017 Walker Cup.
For my full St. Andrews Trophy preview and daily match reports please visit my sister website www.golfbible.co.uk – St. Andrews Trophy – 2016 Preview and Results
Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.