Saturday, July 11, 2015

4.5-2.5 victory over Denmark in final at Halmstad, Sweden

 Scotland men win European team title 

Scotland today lifted their second European men's amateur team championship in the last six years with a 4.5-2.5 victory over Denmark in the final at Halmstad in Sweden.

Following in the notable spike marks of Colin Montgomerie, who was part of the victorious Scotland side in at the very same venue in 1985, national coach Ian Rae’s charges staved off a spirited Danish comeback to secure the gold medals.

Huntly-born Rae, who led Scotland to the European crown in 2009 after claiming the world title the previous year, saw his side build a 2-0 foursomes lead before they stood firm in the afternoon singles. Kilmarnock Barassie’s Jack McDonald secured a crucial win, before Grant Forrest from Craigielaw delivered the winning point.

Global stars Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Jesper Parnevik were among those who graced Halmstad for the 1985 staging of the event, but the Scotland line-up of McDonald, Forrest, Ewen Ferguson, Graeme Robertson, Connor Syme and Greig Marchbank will now go into the history books as team winners after securing Scotland’s seventh European title.

McDonald and Forrest were key players throughout the week 
Both won five points from six in the match-play stages, as the pair maintained the form that saw them reach the semi-finals and final respectively at last month’s British amateur championship at Carnoustie.

Forrest said: “I didn’t know my putt was to win at the time, but it’s now a great feeling. It’s been a brilliant team performance this week.

“We have done well in the foursomes the last three days and coming in at 2-0 up in the final it could have been easy to get complacent. But we knew we all still had jobs to do and I just went out to try and win my match.”

Rae, who has now been in charge of four winning Scottish sides at the European championships, added: “Our foursomes pairings this week have been fantastic. We kept the same format right the way through, and all credit to the guys for seeing the job through in the singles in the final. Denmark are a very, very good team.”

The Scots began meaning business, with Bearsden’s Ferguson and Forrest surging to a four-hole lead after nine holes against Morten Toft Hansen and Sixten Stemann Jensen, before claiming an emphatic 6 and 5 triumph.

McDonald and Glenbervie’s Robertson, the former University of Stirling team-mates playing at their third European amateur team event, were made to work harder against Niklas Norgaard Moller and Peter Launer Baek before maintaining their winning streak.

The Danes were one up after 12 holes, but the Scots duo turned it round to level after 15 before securing a 2 and 1 victory – their third straight foursomes victory in Sweden.

Up against it, Denmark came out all guns blazing in the singles with Philip Juel Berg soon racing to a 6 and 5 win over Thornhill’s Greig Marchbank, the 19th hole hero for the Scots in their semi-final win against England. 
It was then 2-2 after Martin Leth Simonsen took out Ferguson 2 and 1.

But McDonald stayed cool to see off the challenge of Toft Hansen on the 17th, winning 2 and 1, before Forrest turned around his match against Norgaard Moller, winning the final two holes. 
Drumoig’s Connor Syme was ahead in the final match, but amicably he and opponent Launer Baek settled for a halved match with the contest over.
Back in 2009, Scotland’s victorious side in Wales was made up of Wallace Booth, Ross Kellett, Michael Stewart, Glenn Campbell, Paul O’Hara and Gavin Dear, with Scott Knowles the non-playing captain. 
Other players to have competed in the European Amateur Team Championship down the years include world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Matteo Manassero, Victor Dubisson, Chris Wood and Jonas Blixt.



Grant Forrest and Ewen Ferguson bt Morten Toft Hansen and Sixten Stemann Jensen 6 and 5.
Graeme Robertson and Jack McDonald bt Niklas Norgaard Moller and Peter Launer Baek 2 and 1.

SINGLES 2.5-2.5
Forrest bt Moller 1 hole
Ferguson lost to Martin Leth Simonsen 2 and 1.
McDonald bt Hansen 2 and 1.
Connor Syme halved with Baek
Greig Marchbank lost to Philip Juel Berg 6 and 5.

 Scotland boys lost to England in Finland
In the European boys’ team event in Finland, Scotland lost out to England 3-2 in the battle for fifth place, thus finishing sixth overall.
Carnoustie's Will Porter, coming on to the form that won him the Scottish boys championship, and Rory Franssen from Inverness won the foursome by 2 and 1 over Marco Penge and Jamie Li but England turned it around by winning three of the four singles through bradley Moore, Matty Lamb and Harry Hall.
Scotland's only singles winner was Nairn's Sandy Scott by one hole over William Enefer.
Foursome: 0-1
Marco Penge and Jame Li lost to Will Porter and Rory Franssen 2 and 1.
Singles 3-1
Bradley Moore bt Calum Fyfe 4 and 3
William Enefer lost to Sandy Scott 1 hole.
Matty Lamb bt Chris Curran 1 hole.
Harry Hall bt Murray Naysmith 1 hole.

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