England won the European Women’s Team Amateur Championship for an eleventh time when they beat favourites Sweden, 5-2, in the final of this year’s tournament at Royal Co. Down in Northern Ireland.
The English team (above) comprising Emily Toy, Lianne Bailey, Annabell Fuller, Rosie Belsham, Charlotte Heath and Caley McGinty needed to come from behind to beat Scotland in the semi-finals and were up against it facing a Swedish team that included four of the top nine players on the official world ranking but succeeded against the odds to topple a team seeking its fourth successive victory in the Championship.
The English got off to a great start when Toy and McGinty beat Beatrice Wallin and Sara Kjellker, 2 and 1, in the opening foursomes. Former Sunningdale Foursomes winners Linn Grant and Maja Stark evened things up with a comprehensive 5-and-4 win against Fuller and Heath before England took control with three wins and two halves in the singles.
The first English player to emerge with a win in the afternoon was McGinty, who wasted little time dispatching Wallin, 6 and 5. Fuller then closed out her match against Ingrid Lindblad on the 17th before Heath claimed the decisive point with a 2-and-1 win against Stark. The top singles featuring Toy and Andrea Lignell was halved as was the bottom match between Belsham and Grant.
“This is a special moment for all of us,” said Toy, winner of the Women’s Amateur Championship at Royal Co. Down in 2019. “Even though we are brought up to play an individual sport there’s nothing better than winning as a team and winning a title for your country.
“The key to this week has been team spirit. The camaraderie has been incredible. Every player has contributed to this very special moment. We were all pulling for each other – when Lianna wasn’t playing she was caddying for me and that sums up how much we were in this as a team.
“Little things like that make a huge difference.”
“Sweden are a really strong team, but we knew that we had a great chance after winning one of the morning foursomes and the team was superb in the singles,” she added.
It was a busy week for the European Golf Association with the European Team Championships for Men, Boys and Girls also being staged in different countries across the Continent.
Denmark won the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship for the first time when they beat France, 5½-1½, in the final of this year’s competition at the PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain.
The Danes led by new European Amateur champion Christoffer Bring edged Belgium by a single point in the semi-finals but then proved too strong for the French the following day.
The architect of the Danish victory was Bring, who teamed with Søren Broholt Lind to beat Nicolas Muller and Julien Sale by two holes in the foursomes and then clinched another point with a 4-and-3 victory against Tom Gueant in the singles. That meant he won five out the six matches he played during his country’s march to the title.
Danish pair August Thor Høst and Sebastian Friedrichsen beat Paul Margolis and Clément Charmasson by one hole to see the Danes go into lunch with a 2-0 lead before Host also won his singles in the afternoon against Sale. The other three singles matches were halved.
“It’s unreal,” said Bring. “It’s cool to win with these guys. They were so supportive two weeks ago (at the European Amateur) and now to be able to celebrate with them is really cool.
“It’s so different to play for a team because you think about the other guys and not just yourself. It’s definitely another type of being a little nervous because you want to do well for your team and the other guys.”
Germany arrived at Furesø Golfklub in Denmark for the European Boys’ Team Championship having finished runners-up on the two previous occasions they had reached the final but this time they were the dominant team throughout.
They started the week with Tim Wiedemeyer, Tiger Christensen and Yannick Malik claiming the first three places in the stroke-play qualifier and then beat the Netherlands, 6-1, and Sweden, 4-3, before completing the job with a 4½-2½ victory against Italy in the final.
The Germans got the final off to the best possible start when Tom Haberer and Carl Siemens beat Sebastiano Frau and Alessandro Nardini by one hole in the first foursomes and Malik and Christensen then doubled that advantage with a 3-and-2 victory against Flavio Michetti and Marco Florioli.
The afternoon singles got underway after a delay due to the very wet weather and Pietro Guido Fenoglio and Florioli got 2 points on the board for Italy before Malik responded with a 5-and-4 win against Frau. That left Germany within one point of victory, and it was entirely appropriate that Wiedemeyer should supply it with a one-hole victory against Elia Dallanegra. The other match between Haberer and Michetti was halved.
In the European Girls’ Team Championship at the Montado Resort in Portugal, a Spanish victory in temperatures rising to 38 degrees meant that all four of this year’s major European Golf Association Team Championships were won by different countries.
The Spaniards required a play-off to beat Sweden in the semi-finals but 24 hours later endured no such late drama while beating France 4½-2½ to claim the title for the eighth time but the first since 2015.
Like the German boys, Spain’s girls had tasted defeat in their two previous appearances in the final of the European Team Championship and that might well have been on the minds of their officials when France’s Constance Fouillet and Maylis Lamoure beat Paula Martín and Cayetana Fernández, 5 and 4, in the opening foursomes.
That was hardly the start the Spaniards had been looking for but Julia López and Lucia López evened things up with a narrow one-hole victory against Vaïrana Heck and Adela Cernousek before taking control in the singles.
Cernousek made amends for her morning foursomes defeat with a 6-and-5 victory against Lucia López but victories from Andrea Revuelta, Fernandez and Julia López against Lilas Pinthier, Lamoure and Heck saw the Spaniards across the line. The match between Spain’s Paula Balanzategui and Fouillet was halved.
Finland won both the Men’s and Boy’s Division 2 European Team Championships at the Estonian Golf and Country Club.
The Finnish men beat the Czech Republic, 4-3, and now will be promoted to next year’s Division 1 event at Royal St George’s alongside the Czech Republic and Estonia, who won the battle for third place against Slovenia.
The Finland Boys team lost the first foursome in their final against Norway but then won five and halved the other match to complete a 5½-1½ win. That earns them a place alongside Norway and third-placed Slovenia in next year’s Division 1 European Boys’ Team Championship at Golf Club St Leon Rot in Germany.