The Continent of Europe have won the Jacques Léglise Trophy after defeating GB & Ireland 15½- 9½ at Aldeburgh Golf Club in Suffolk.
Leading the home side 6½-5½ at the start of play on the second day, the Continental team consolidated its lead by winning three of the four morning foursomes, providing them with a 9½-6½ advantage going into the final afternoon’s singles matches. Joachim Fourquet’s side then picked up six of the nine available points in the singles to seal their first win in the boys’ international match since 2017.
The visitors strengthened their grip on the contest in the morning foursomes. While Ben Schmidt and Archie Davies combined well to defeat the French pair of Charles Larcelet and Tom Vaillant, it was the only point to go towards the GB&I team tally in the early session. Adam Wallin and Loic Ettlin were too strong for the fancied GB&I pairing of Barclay Brown and Joe Pagdin. The European duo recorded a convincing 4&2 victory.
Bård Bjørnevik Skogen and Matteo Cristoni were always in control of their match over Connor McKinney and Aaron Marshall winning the point two-up. While Tom McKibbin and Josh Hill held the early advantage in their match against Daniel da Costa Rodrigues and David Puig, the European pair fought back from being two-down after three holes and squared the match at the 6th. At the 14th the GB&I pairing again gained an advantage that was quickly lost at the next. With da Costa Rodrigues and Puig winning the final two holes of the match they went on to seal the Continent of Europe’s third point of the morning.
With Europe needing just three and a half points from the nine singles matches in the afternoon, Larcelet was the first to strike. He landed a big blow to the GB&I team, fighting back from three down after five holes to defeat Schmidt, the highest ranked player in the field, 2&1.
Wallin staved off a late charge from McKinney, defeating the Scott 2&1, while Skogen made short work of Archie Davies, needing just 16 holes to win his match 4&2. Now needing just half a point to win the trophy, it was Ettlin who secured the victory for the visitors when he disposed of Luke O’Neill 4&3. Puig and da Costa Rodrigues also secured points for the Continent when they won their matches against Aaron Marshall and Tom McKibbin.
Playing in the first singles match out in the afternoon, Joe Pagdin did his best to mount a comeback for GB&I. In control from the start, Pagdin defeated Alvaro Mueller-Baumgart 3&1. However, with the Continent of Europe claiming the next three matches, the GB&I had left their charge too late. Barclay Brown, the playing captain for GB&I, won his match against Matteo Cristoni putting on an impressive display to fight back from three-down at the 8th hole to win two-up on the 17th. Hill claimed GB&I’s final point when he recorded a one-up victory over Vaillant.
The victory marks the 13th time that the Continent of Europe has won the Jacques Léglise Trophy since the boys’ international match between the two teams was rejuvenated in 1977. The GB&I has won 29 times, with one match tied at Royal Dornoch in 2015.
Joachim Fourquet, The Continent of Europe captain, said: “I am very proud of my team. They showed that they are not just kids, they are real players – they know how to manage the course. It was so different to yesterday, with the attitude and everything, they played really well this afternoon.
The thing with the European team is you have 48 hours to create team spirit, and it got better and better as the week went on. I could feel it last night, they were all talking and joking, so I think today we were a real team and their attitude and their spirit was amazing.”
Stuart Wilson, chairman of The R&A Boys Selectors, GB & Ireland, said: “There were a lot of positives, I think the guys changed their approach a little bit to put the challenge up to the European guys this afternoon, but unfortunately they were just too strong for us. They kept the ball in play a little more than us and holed a few more putts and in the end that makes all the difference.
“We knew they were going to be good, they definitely brought a strong team, but we were hopeful with the guys that we had assembled and confident coming into the match that we could repeat a result from Finland last year, but it just wasn’t to be.”
The 2020 Jacques Léglise Trophy will be played at Blairgowrie Golf Club in Scotland from August 28-29.