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Brits Looking To Shine In Denmark

by Colin Callander - July 8, 2013

England will be bidding to claim their third victory in the space of the past nine years when they travel to Denmark to compete in this week’s European Men’s Team Championship at Silkeborg Golf Club in Jutland.

It is one of four major team events to be staged across Europe in the next seven days with the European Women’s Team Championship being held at Fulford in England, the European Boys’ Team Championship taking place at Murcar Links in Scotland and the European Girls’ Team Championship being hosted by the Linkopings Golf Club in Sweden.

England has won the European Men’s Team Championship on a record 10 occasions with the most recent of those victories coming at Osterakers Golf Club in Sweden in 2010 when they defeated the host nation in the final. Two years ago, they finished in a dismal 15th place at the Oceanico Victoria course in Portugal.

But there are high hopes of bouncing back with an in-form team that is headed by new Amateur champion Garrick Porteous and also includes recent St Andrews Trophy winner Neil Raymond, South American Amateur champion Callum Shinkwin, South East of England Links champion Max Orrin, Terra Cotta Invitational winner Nathan Kimsey and Toby Tree, who won the Gauteng North Open in South Africa for the second time in succession earlier this year.

Such is the strength in depth in English amateur golf, there is no place for Hampshire Hog winner, Jordon Smith, who after learning of his omission promptly won the Brabazon Trophy at Formby. Also unlucky to miss out was Greg Eason, a student at University of Central Florida in the States, who played for Europe in this year’s Palmer Cup and was also named on the All-Nicklaus collegiate team for 2013, selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Ewan Scott will try to help Scotland win the European Menís Team Championship

All four home countries have won the European Men’s Team Championship in the past and all four have named strong squads for the trip to Denmark.

Scotland, who have won the title six times, most recently in 2001, will be spearheaded by reigning national champion, Grant Forrest, who faces a busy couple of weeks having also qualified for next week’s Open Championship by heading the field at the Local Final Qualifying event at Dunbar (see below). The 20-year-old from Craigielaw will be joined by Scott Borrowman, Jack McDonald, Graeme Robertson, James Ross and teenager Ewan Scott, all of whom still harbour realistic hopes of impressing the GB&I Walker Cup selectors.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said McDonald, the current leader of the SGU Order of Merit, who played for Scotland three times at European Boys’ team level. “I think we have a very good team and we’re all playing well.

“The first task is to qualify for the top flight and then I would fancy our chances in the match play. I don’t see why we can’t do well.”

Those words were reiterated by Forrest just after he had signed for scores of 67 and 65 to qualify for his first Open Championship. “It’s going to be fantastic to play at The Open but before that I’ve got the European Championships in Denmark which is also going to be special. I think we have a good chance.”

Wales, who won the title at Marianske Lazne in the Czech Republic back in 1993, are represented by reigning European Amateur champion Rhys Pugh, David Boote, Tim Harry, Richard James, Matt Moseley and Ben Westgate, while Ireland has taken the unusual decision not to select either Irish Close champion Cormac Sharvin or Irish Open Amateur winner Robbie Cannon, opting instead for Paul Dunne, Jack Hume, Rory McNamara, Gavin Moynihan, Reeve Whitson and Kevin Phelan. Ireland has won the title six times in the past, as recently as 2007 and 2008 when they claimed back-to-back titles at Western Gailes, Scotland, and Royal Park, Italy.

The defending champions are France, who beat Switzerland in the last final in Portugal and on paper will be in the frame again. Its team includes Julien Brun, who has a handicap of +5 and who, at No. 7 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, is the highest-ranked player in the field.

They are also represented by Paul Barjon (+3.7), Thomas Elissalde (+5.1), Adrien Saddier (+4.9), Clément Sordet (+3.1) and Joël Stalter (+3.6) while Germany might well start as slim favourites with a team comprising Maximilian Röhrig (+4.7), Maximilian Mehles (+4), Maximilian Rottluff (+4.9), Alexander Matlari (+4), Martin Keskari (+4.6) and Dominic Foos who is the backmarker in the field with a handicap of +6.4.

The first two days of the competition are devoted to stroke-play qualifying before the match play stage is contested in the final three days. This year the event has attracted 15 nations, the others being Austria, Finland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and host Denmark.

Sweden will bid to complete a unique treble when they tee up in this week’s European Ladies’ Team Championship at Fulford Golf Club in York.

The hosts, England, also will have their own hat-trick in mind as they bid to win the title for the first time in 20 years.

Since that last English victory, at Royal Hague in The Netherlands back in 1993, the event has been dominated by the Continental countries with Sweden having posting five victories, Spain four and France and Germany one apiece.

The Swedes arrive in England having won the last two championships, at La Manga, Spain, in 2010 and GC Murholf, Austria, in 2011 and they will be the first country to win three times in a row if they can emerge victorious against a field comprising teams from 20 countries across Europe.

This year’s Swedish team includes Madelene Sagström, Johanna Tillström and Josephine Janson, all of whom are survivors from the winning team two years ago in Austria. However, the slight favourite might well be host England who already have spent several days reconnoitring Fulford and are attempting to build on a record that has seen them win the gold medal the past two times the event has been staged in their own country, at Wentworth Club in 1991 and Ganton 20 years earlier.

The English have put together a team that on paper looks stronger than the squad GB&I assembled for the recent Vagliano Trophy in France. It is headed by World No. 7 Georgia Hall and includes reigning British and English stroke play champion Sarah-Jane Boyd, Hayley Davies, Bronte Law, Meghan MacLaren, Lauren Taylor and Alex Peters.

The Irish also look capable of ending two decades of Continental dominance with a squad that includes 2012 British champion, Stephanie Meadow, and the Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa, who opted out of the Vagliano Trophy but have no such qualms about representing the Emerald Isles. Its team is rounded up by Maria Dunne, Chloe Ryan and new national champion, Paula Grant, who beat Lisa Maguire on the 19th hole of the final at the recent championship at Ballybunion.

This year’s contest also features teams from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Wales. The Scots are represented by national champion Alyson McKechin, Eilidh Briggs, Gemma Dryburgh, Jess Meek, Ailsa Summers and Rachael Watton while the Welsh team comprises Sam Birks, Amy Boulden, Gemma Bradbury, Becky Harries, Kate O’Connor and Chloe Wiliams.

Europe’s top junior golfers will travel to Scotland and Sweden this week to compete in the European Boys and Girls Team Championships.

The boys are bound for Murcar Links, just north of Aberdeen, while the girls make their way to Lingkopings Golf Club in Sweden, where the host nation will be bidding for a back-to-back victory having defeated Spain in last year’s event at GC St Leon-Rot in Germany.

The Swedes have an enviable record in this championship having won it six times since it was inaugurated in 1991. Last year’s runners-up, Spain, also have triumphed on six occasions, the French have prevailed twice, in 2010 and 2011, as have the Germans, while Ireland (2009) and England (2005) have won once apiece.

Sweden is also the defending the title at the boys event, having won on home soil at Lidingö Golf Club 12 months ago. In recent years, this event has also been dominated by the Continental teams, with Sweden (twice), Denmark (twice), Spain, Belgium, Norway and The Netherlands all having triumphed since England won for an eighth time at Kymen Golf Club, Finland, in 2004. Hosts, Scotland, won the last of its four victories four years before that, at Noorde Nederlandse G & CC in The Netherlands, while this year’s Irish team will be boosted by the fact their sole win came in Scotland, at Gullane in 1998.

Murcar Links hosted last year’s Scottish Boys Team Championship and the European Girls Championship in 2008.

“We’re delighted to host the 2013 European Boys Team Championship and a very warm welcome will be extended to all players, oficials and spectators,” said club Captain, David Grant. “Our course provides a fair but challenging test, particularly if the wind gets up. A little hillier than some links courses, there are some magnificent views back towards Aberdeen and we are sure all the European players will enjoy the experience of playing here.”

Scotland’s Forrest and Englishmen, Ben Stow and Jimmy Mullen, flew the flag for amateur golf when they won three out of the four Open Championship Local Final Qualifying competitions in Scotland.

Forrest, the reigning Scottish championship, carded rounds of 67 and 65, to lead the field at Dunbar. Stow, an English international from Rushmore, produced a 72 and a 68 to win at Gullane No. 1, while Mullen, from Royal North Devon, topped the leaderboard after shooting a pair of 68s at North Berwick.

The three amateurs will tee up at next week’s Open Championship at Muirfield where they will be joined by reigning Boys Amateur champion, Matthew Fitzpatrick, who claimed a share of second place behind Stow at Gullane.

Altogether, amateurs claimed 25 per cent of the 12 qualifying spots available at the four LFQ venues and it could well have been more because Fraser Moore, from Glenbervie, missed out by a single shot at Gullane and English international Shinkwin and his Irish counterpart Phelan came up just two shots short at Dunbar. Phelan was bidding for a place in his second major of the season having qualiied previously for the U.S. Open at Merion.

The performance of the leading amateurs was impressive although it was undoubtedly helped by the fact they tend to play much more links golf than the professionals.

European Tour player Shiv Kapur elected to play at Dunbar rather than at European International Final Qualifying event at Sunningdale but admitted he struggled at the start of the day before recovering to share second place with Australian club professional, John Wade.

“I could have got into Sunningdale but I wanted to try to qualify on a links course because I think that’s the proper way to do it,” said the Indian player.

“It was the first time I had played a links course since this time last year so it was all a bit strange to start with but I soon got the hang of things again. I played beautifully this afternoon. In fact, I felt I left a lot of shots out there but I suppose that’s what everybody says.”

Forrest, Stow, Mullin and Fitzpatrick will be joined at Muirfield by Amateur champion, Porteous, U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox and European Amateur champion Pugh all of whom were exempt into the championship.

Faithlegg’s Robin Dawson warmed up his appearance at this week’s European Boys’ Team Championship by winning the Irish Boys’ Open Championship at Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

Dawson recovered from three-putting the 72nd hole from 10-feet to beat England’s Marco Penge in a playoff after both players had tied on 6-under-par 282.

Fifteen-year-old Penge made up five shots on Dawson with a closing 69 but had to settle for second place after his Irish rival birdied one and carded pars on the other two extra holes. His consolation was victory in the concurrent Under-16s competition.

Penge’s compatriot, Jack Singh Brar, claimed third place in the overall event with rounds of 70, 68, 72 and 73 for a 7-under par total of 283. Penge and Singh Brar are both in England’s team for this week’s European Boys Team Championship.

Reproduced with kind permission of Global Golf Post - Subscribe now for free


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