The Europeans continued their dominance in the Junior Vagliano Trophy to take the match by 10-8 after the afternoon singles finished three points apiece. The renowned Rosemount Course in Perthshire was bathed in sunshine as the keenly contested Jacques Léglise Trophy was won by the Continent of Europe 13½-11½, but they were pushed all the way by a gritty GB&I team.
The Jacques Léglise Trophy is the under-18 equivalent of the St Andrews Trophy. It is played annually with the venue alternating between Great Britain and Ireland and the Continent of Europe.
Many of today’s top professionals, like Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, have contested the Trophy in the past. In 2021, the Continent of Europe defeated Great Britain and Ireland 16½-8½ to win at Falsterbo in Sweden.
Jacques Léglise served as President of the French Golf Federation and of the European Golf Association.
This year the Jacques Léglise Trophy was being played over the same days as the Junior Vagliano Trophy at Blairgowrie.
GB&I started the day two points adrift of their European rivals and the morning foursomes spoils were shared with Johanna Axelsen and Perla Sól Sigurbrandsdóttir winning their match while Isla McDonald-O’Brien and Amelia Wan responded with a win and the other match was halved.
The home team knew they had to make a fast start in the afternoon singles but their hopes were dented when Anna Cañadó Espinal of Spain raced to a 6&5 win against Marina Joyce Moreno. GB&I showed their resolve, however, and Rosie Bee Kim saw off Sigurbrandsdóttir by 4&2.
Maggie Whitehead secured a two-hole win over Lynn van der Sluijs after winning the 17th with a birdie and sealing the match at the 18th with a par.McDonald-O’Brien maintained her rich vein of form to win by 2&1 against Spain’s Andrea Revuelta Goicoechea and take 3½ points out of four for the week.
The Continent of Europe team were not to be denied though and Axelsen and Carla De Troia were always in control in their matches against Amelia Wan and Grace Crawford with 4&3 and 6&5 results ensuring they would take the trophy for the seventh time.
Myrte Eikenaar, non-playing captain, the Continent of Europe, said, “It’s wonderful to have won. The girls really fought it out, especially in the morning when they maybe weren’t playing their best golf and still getting one and a half points. It was great to see them show heart.
“We were quickly up in the afternoon matches and that seemed to give the girls a lot of confidence to keep going to the end and it was nice that it ended up being the last match to decide the outcome. “The players are super happy. They really came together as a team this week which was amazing to see. You can tell by the energy in the group. Obviously, we’re happy to have extended our record this week, but Great Britain and Ireland really had a strong team this year and the matches were so close. I’m sure it will become harder to keep retaining the trophy so I’m really happy to have won.”
Janet Melville, non-playing captain, Great Britain and Ireland, said, “This is the best performance by the team in this match so I’m really pleased with how we played despite the result. They’ve done really well and we only lost one of the sessions overall. I’m especially pleased given the result last year and proud of each player.”
The GB&I boys had their work cut out for them against the Continent of Europe in the Jacques Léglise Trophy starting the day with a three point deficit but they bounced back in the morning foursomes, winning three of the matches and losing only one to reduce the arrears to one point.
Things looked ominous for the home team when the German pairing of Carl Siemens and Tim Wiedemeyer won the opening match against Dylan Shaw-Radford and Niall Shiels Donegan by 3&1 but GB&I fought back strongly to win the remaining three matches with Frank Kennedy and Connor Graham securing a 3&2 win against William Wistrand and Albert Hansson in the final match.
The Continent of Europe boys kept their eyes on the prize in the early afternoon singles matches with Spain’s Jorge Siyuan Hao halving the opening match with Tyler Weaver and then Wiedemeyer and Siemens putting two more points on the board against Harley Smith and Josh Hill. Shaw-Radford struck back for GB&I with a fine 3&1 victory over Marco Florioli from Italy and Kennedy followed up by taking his match with Tom Haberer by 4&3.
Boys’ Amateur champion Albert Hansson tried to slam the door on any building GB&I momentum with a comprehensive 7&5 triumph against Shiels Donegan and Thijmen Batens clinched another point with a two hole win against Junior Open champion and Blairgowrie member Connor Graham.
Oihan Guillamoundeguy halved his match with Josh Berry and Scottish Men’s Amateur champion Oliver Mukherjee closed the match with a one-hole win over Wistrand. Joachim Fourquet, non-playing captain, the Continent of Europe, said, “I feel very happy but there’s also real relief because I was anxious this afternoon.
The team started off very well this afternoon which made it more comfortable in the end. It was a great match, Great Britain and Ireland played really well to fight back. “I watched great golf by both teams and it was very competitive. This really was a great experience for them and we all agree on that. I think we need some sleep after this, so we’ll relax tonight and have some fun, but the only drink will be lemonade!”
Chris King, non-playing captain, Great Britain and Ireland, said, “We played fantastic this morning to give ourselves an opportunity this afternoon. We played some good golf but the Europeans got off to a good early start. We should clawed back a couple of matches but they played very well. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get it over the line this afternoon, but eight of the team still have another year at this level.
“It’s some of the best golf I’ve seen in the Jacques Leglise Trophy and all credit to the European team, they were fantastic and what a great bunch of boys. They are a credit to their individual nations and the continent. The spirit of the match was fantastic over the two days.”
Text & images: The R&A
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