THE Continent of Europe showed their strength to claim a 141/2-91/2 win over Great Britain and Ireland to lift the Vagliano Trophy at Royal St George’s.
In securing a seventh straight victory over the sun-drenched links in Kent, the Continent of Europe maintained their dominance in the biennial contest to the delight of captain Anna Roscio.
A very happy Roscio said: “I’m really happy to win again. Playing away from home is never easy. We knew we had a great team but sometimes the weather and the conditions are not easy for us. But the weather was perfect today, so thanks to the weather.
“Great Britain and Ireland got close to us at times but we managed to stay ahead.
“In the morning foursomes, there was a moment when the teams were very close but we had a good finish in the morning and a great start in the afternoon. I’ve won three times now – also in 2015 and 2017, and it feels great again.”
With a 7–5 lead overnight, the Continent of Europe stretched their advantage to three points after going unbeaten in Saturday’s foursomes to win the session 21/2–11/2.
It was an exciting morning which included a hole-in-one from both Scotland’s Hazel MacGarvie and Italy’s Alessia Nobilio.
The Continent of Europe, featuring a team with all eight players inside the top 30 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, wrapped up victory by winning the singles 5-3.
Great Britain and Ireland, who last won the Vagliano Trophy in 2005, needed a fast start in the afternoon singles and showed early promise to hold early leads.
However, the Continent of Europe found their form and top-ranked Frida Kinhult defeated Essex’s Lily May Humphreys 5&3 while Leonie Harm edged out Julie McCarthy winning by one hole.
When Linn Grant halved with Berkhamsted’s Alice Hewson, the trophy had been retained and the Continent of Europe went past the winning line when France’s Pauline Roussin-Bouchard beat Cheshire’s Bel Wardle 2&1.
Roussin-Bochard said: “I feel really good. It’s crazy winning the last point to get the victory, it’s awesome. I was aware that we were up overall but I knew that there were other matches close as well. I just tried to get the win.
“We are a very good team. The atmosphere is perfect, we are like one. It was just great to be here. The weather was perfect. It’s actually crazy to have this kind of weather in England and play a links without wind.”
MacGarvie took her personal tally for the week to three-and-half points from four when she beat Nobilio on the 18th, while Roehampton’s Annabell Fuller was also victorious on the closing hole against Albane Valenzuela.
Caterina Don added to the Continent of Europe’s total when she beat Shannon McWilliam 3&1, with Girls Amateur champion Emma Spitz and Cornwall’s Women’s Amateur champion Emily Toy halving the final match.
Royal St George’s, which will host The Open for the 15th occasion next year, was bathed in glorious sunshine throughout the day and the early golf in the foursomes matched the conditions.
MacGarvie aced the 177-yard third for only her second-ever hole-in-one, with Nobilio doing likewise at the short sixth.
Nobilio’s ace helped her and Continent of Europe team-mate Don to a convincing 6&5 triumph over Hewson and Humphreys.
Great Britain and Ireland looked well-placed to counter over the historic links as they led in the other three foursomes heading into the back nine.
However, Spitz and Harm fought back from losing the first four holes to secure half a point against MacGarvie and McWilliam.
The bottom two games also finished level, after Toy and Wardle made a birdie at the last to tie with Kinhult and Grant, while an eagle from McCarthy and Fuller on 18 secured a half against Valenzuela and Roussin-Bouchard.
Captain Ratcliffe, who will lead the GB&I Curtis Cup team in 2020 said: “It was always going to be a battle. They have some world class golfers on their side and the ability to play at a very high standard – they know what pressure is all about. The girls battled hard, they pushed them and we won some matches down 18 – but not enough.
“As a team, we would have been delighted to have got the points but there are some individuals who have really shone this week. Hazel MacGarvie was unbeaten which was great and the manner in which she has finished all week has been classy.
“Emily Toy has also played some great golf, coming in as the new Women’s Amateur champion and Annabell Fuller beat Albane Valenzuela at the last.
“Hopefully the individual wins can be taken into the next events and they can keep their play going.”
In the Junior Vagliano Trophy, the six-a-side match for U16s, the Continent of Europe claimed a 101/2–71/2 success.
Trailing 5-4 overnight to GB&I, the visitors responded to win all three morning foursomes and three of the afternoon singles as they achieved a fifth straight win in the event.
Full results for both the Vagliano Trophy and the Junior Vagliano Trophy are available by clicking here.