Europe overpowers GB&I, capturing two top amateur trophies

The Continent of Europe team celebrates after winning the St. Andrews Trophy at the Castelconturbia Golf Course on Aug. 28, 2010.

The Continent of Europe team celebrates after winning the St. Andrews Trophy at the Castelconturbia Golf Course on Aug. 28, 2010.

Europe eases to Jacques Leglise victory

CASTELCOVATI, Italy - After three successive defeats, the Continent of Europe came through Saturday to win the 2010 Jacques Leglise Trophy match at Castelconturbia, near Milan, Italy. In the two-day annual boys’ team competition, the Continent defeated Great Britain and Ireland, 15 1/2 to 8 1/2.

Leading 8-4 overnight, the Continent posted a 3 1/2 - 1/2 victory in Saturday morning foursomes for an 11 1/2 - 4 1/2 overall lead and needing just one point to win. That point was secured by France’s Stanislas Gautier, who halved his match with Dermot McElroy of Northern Ireland. The first half-point was earned by 14-year-old Italian Domenico Geminiani, the youngest to play on the European Tour, after he halved the match with GB&I captain Rhys Pugh.

“I was 2 down after 16, so it feels good to get something out of the match,” said Geminiani, who played in the Italian Open in May.

“We have a great team, we all work together and we all had fun. I could, because of my age, play in another four of these, so I hope we keep the same team spirit in the matches to come and I hope that we keep winning.”

GB&I’s Pugh, 16, attributed the team’s defeat to poor morning performances that left them with only 1 1/2 points out of eight.

“The foursomes on the first day left us with an uphill battle, and today’s foursomes sealed it,” said the Welshman, who won the 2010 Peter McEvoy Trophy.

“We certainly had the talent, but it just didn’t come together on the day.”

The eight points available in the afternoon were equally shared, with GB&I victories coming from three Englishmen: Chris Lloyd won 5 and 4 against Kristian Johannesen of Norway; James Burnett overcame Austria’s Markus Maukner, 4 and 3; and Paul Lockwood defeated 2010 Boys Amateur champion Adrian Otaegui, 3 and 1.

The Continent’s three victories came courtesy of Belgium’s Thomas Detry, who prevailed 4 and 3 over Paul Dunne of Ireland; Detry’s countryman Thomas Pieters defeated Scotland’s Grant Forrest, 4 and 3; and Denmark’s Thomas Sorensen, who ended the week with four points from a possible four, beat Scott Gibson of Scotland by one hole.

Peter McEvoy, the R&A’s chairman of boys selectors, said: “We underperformed. . . . We failed to close out matches, and we lost the 18th hole on eight occasions. You just can’t win matches if you’re going to do that.

“The Continent had a very strong team and they thoroughly deserved to win, but this afternoon, I was pleased that we showed we could match them.”

The 2011 Jacques Leglise Trophy Match will take place Aug. 26-27 at Neguri, Spain.

••••••••••••••

Europe defeats GB&I to claim St. Andrews Trophy

The Continent of Europe defeated Great Britain and Ireland this weekend to win the 2010 St. Andrews Trophy match at Castelconturbia, near Milan, Italy. Leading 8 1/2 to 7 1/2 going into Saturday’s afternoon singles, the Continent won 5 1/2 of the eight points available to clinch the match, 14-10.

It is the Continent’s first victory in the biennial amateur team event since 1998, when it overcame GB&I by the same score at Villa D’Este, Italy. Of the Continent’s four victories, three have come on Italian soil.

It fell to Germany’s Max Kieffer to hole the putt that took the match beyond GB&I’s reach, as he defeated Scotland’s Michael Stewart by one hole. Before that, Espen Kofstad of Norway overcame Irishman Paul Cutler 6 and 5, and Italy’s Nino Bertasio edged James Byrne by one hole, after a tight match where neither player could establish a lead of more than 1 up.

Despite losing his afternoon singles match, Byrne, the 2010 Amateur Championship runner-up, said it was Friday morning’s foursomes, after which GB&I trailed 3-1, that ultimately led to the defeat.

“Yesterday morning left us with a lot to do, and we were playing catchup for the rest of the match,” said Byrne, a senior at Arizona State University. “Saying that, we were actually looking good halfway through the singles, but we just fell short on the last couple of holes.”

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