Wilson’s wonders are put to sword at Aldeburgh as Europe wins Jacques Léglise

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The Continent of Europe team winners of the 2019 Jacques Leglise Trophy
The Continent of Europe team who beat Great Britain and Ireland to win the Jacques Leglise Trophy at Aldeburgh GC. Picture by THE R&A / GETTY IMAGES

THE Continent of Europe won the 2019 Jacques Léglise Trophy after defeating Great Britain and Ireland 15½-9½ at Aldeburgh Golf Club.

Leading 6½-5½ at the start of play on the second day, the Europeans consolidated their lead by winning three of the four morning foursomes matches leaving them 9½-6½ up going into this afternoon’s singles matches.

Joachim Fourquet’s side then picked up six of the nine available points in the afternoon singles to seal their first win in the boys’ international match since 2017 when they triumphed 15½-9½ at Ballybunion, in Ireland.

The visitors strengthened their grip on the contest in the morning foursomes.

While Yorkshire’s Ben Schmidt and Welsh Amateur Champion Archie Davies combined well to defeat the French pair of Charles Larcelet and Tom Vaillant, it was the only point won by the GB&I in the early session.

Adam Wallin and Loic Ettlin were too strong for the fancied GB&I pairing of GB&I captain Barclay Brown, from Hallamshire GC, and England’s Florida-based junior international Joe Pagdin, who lost 4&2.

Bård Bjørnevik Skogen and Matteo Cristoni were always in control of their match over Scotland’s Connor McKinney and Ireland’s Aaron Marshall winning two-up.

While Irish junior internationals 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.

They squared the match at the sixth hole and 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 Brabazon and Carris Trophy double winner Schmidt, the highest ranked player in the field, 2&1

Wallin staved off a late charge from McKinney, defeating the Scott 2&1 to provide the Continent of Europe with its second point in the singles matches.

Bjørnevik-Skogen made short work of Davies, needing just 16 holes to win his match 4&2 against the Welsh international, who plays at Carlisle GC.

Now needing just half a point to win the 2019 Jacques Léglise Trophy it was Ettlin who secured the victory for the Continent of Europe – when he disposed of Ireland’s Luke O’Neill 4&3.

Puig and da Costa Rodrigues also secured points for the Continent when they won their matches against Marshall and McKibbin.  

Playing in the first singles match out in the afternoon, Pagdin did his best to mount a comeback for GB&I. In control from the start, the Lake Nona member 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.

Brown, last year’s Daily Telegraph Junior Champion, won his match against Matteo Cristoni putting on an impressive display to fight back from three-down at the eighth hole to win two-up on the 17th.

McGregor Trophy winner Hill claimed GB&I’s final point when he recorded a one-up victory over Vaillant.

Europe’s non-playing captain Joachim Fourquet said: “I am very, very proud of my team, they showed a lot of things this afternoon.

“First, they showed that they are not just 16, 17 or 18 years old, they are real players – they know how to manage the course.

“It was so different to yesterday afternoon, 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, it was 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, yesterday it was 75 per cent and two days ago it was 50 per cent. The attitude and team spirit was amazing today.”

Stuart Wilson, chairman of the Great Britain and Ireland’s Boys Selectors, put a brave face on the defeat at the Suffolk club overlooking the North Sea and River Alde, which strangely has no par fives.

Wilson 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 I am afraid.

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 the Jacques Léglise Trophy on 29 occasions, with one match tied at Royal Dornoch in 2015.

The 2020 Jacques Léglise Trophy will be played at Blairgowrie in Scotland from August 28-29.

Wilson, the Scottish winner of the 2004 Amateur Championship, added: “It will be nice to be up in Scotland at Blairgowrie.

“It’s a cracking course up there. The players will enjoy it and they have another a year to get ready for it.”

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