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ENGLAND WIN BRONZE

EUROPEAN BOYS TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 2001
AMBER BALTIC GOLF CLUB - POLAND 10th-14th JULY

TUESDAY 10th JULY - Day One Stroke Play Qualification.

The first day's stroke play qualification got under way at the Amber Baltic Golf Club in a cool stiff breeze. Stephen Lewton led the way for England on the 6200-yard par 70 course with a well-earned 72. Lewton played solid from tee to green struggling on the small subtly undulating greens. Second out for England, Simon Bell returned a gritty 74, following a birdie three at the 16th a wayward tee shot cost him a bogey five at the eighteenth.

Michael Skelton, struggling to find his form fought hard to retrieve a 75, playing a workman like back nine.

In need to post a sub par score, Daniel Wardrop responded, 3 under par to the turn he returned a fine 68, the only blemish coming on the short par 4 16th where he took three from the front edge for a bogey five.

Scott Jackson turned in 1under following a run of birdies at the 7th, 8th and 9th holes. A solid back nine resulted in Jackson posting a level par 70.

Last man out David Porter struggled from the start, bogying the first and third holes. Things didn't improve for Porter and his score of 80 was discarded as only five out of the six scores are counted under the Championship Conditions.

England's total of 359, 9 over par placed them in joint fifth place with, Switzerland and Denmark. Italy led the way on 352, Spain were second on 354, followed by Germany on 355 and Ireland on 357.

WEDNESDAY 11th JULY - Day Two Stroke Play Qualification.

England well aware that they had to perform on day two to ensure a spot in the first eight and qualification for the first flight in the match play stages started well with a solid level par 70 from Steven Lewton. Lewton once again played well hitting 15 greens in regulation but found it difficult to convert birdie chances. Second out was Michael Skelton who returned a 73, level at the turn he double bogied the 10th and three putted the 11th to come in 3 over. Third out was Simon Bell who's 74 would eventually be discarded.

Wardrop fourth out matched his first round 68 with another fine 68. Three under par through 17 he drove his tee shot on the 18th into the right hand rough which cost him a bogey five. His two day total of 136 would prove to be the tied leading score. He shared that leading score with another Englishman, Scott Jackson. Jackson played solidly to be three under on the 18th tee knowing he needed a birdie three to tie Wardrop. Following a tee shot into the fairway he hit a near perfect second shot to the undulating green to two feet to set up a birdie three for a 66 to go with his opening round of 70.

Last out David Porter not on top of his game ground it out on the front nine to turn 1 under par. He bogied the difficult 13th to go back to level and then hit approach shots close to birdie 14, 15 and 17 to return a hard worked 67.

England finished day two 6 under par to lift them from 5th overnight to 1st place with a two day total of 3 over par five shots ahead of Spain on 708

England were joined in the top flight by:

Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Scotland, Finland.

England's performance lifted them from joint fifth overnight to first place in qualification and set up a meeting with Finland in the quarter-finals. Their total of 3 over par put them 5 shots ahead of Spain and 11 shots ahead of Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

THURSDAY 12th JULY - Day one Match Play

England faced Finland in the quarter- finals, well aware of the hard fought match they won two years ago in Upsala, Sweden. Daniel Wardrop and Scott Jackson played solidly to win the first foursomes, beating Ilkka Hakkarainen and Erkko Nurvala 6&5. David Porter & Stephen Lewton struggled against Peter Erofejeff and Matti Merilainen and eventually went down 4&3. Porter & Lewton never won a hole as the Finns covered the course in 4 under par.

With the foursomes shared, England needed a good start to the singles, unfortunately this did not happen. Through the first five holes, England were behind in the first three matches, level in the fourth and up in the last game.

Wardrop struggling in the top game fought hard and with a wonderful up and down on the 18th earned a hard fought half with Erkko Nurvala. Lewton 3 down early in his game squared the match going into the back nine, and following some solid golf came out 3&2 winner against Timo Kolehmainene

Simon Bell rested in the morning foursomes was clearly up for his game, 6 under par when beating Matti Merilainen 5&4.

England now only needed one point to clinch the match and Scott Jackson would deliver. Like Lewton, Jackson was down early and turned his match round with birdies at the 13th & 14th put himself ahead and eventually saw off Ilkka Hakkarainene 3&2.

David Porter two up at the turn against Peter Erofejeff lost the 11th hole to a birdie three. Erofejeff then pitched in for another birdie three from off the green at the 15th. Porter made good up and downs at the 17th and 18th to salvage a halved match.

Although England ran out winners 5-2, it had not been an easy match as the result might suggest, Finland a nation with only 8,000 junior golfers had performed with great credit

England would now meet Switzerland who beat Italy in the Semi Final, with Spain playing Sweden in the second semi final.

FRIDAY 13th JULY - Day two Match Play

Switzerland a nation with 34,153 golfers and 3,500 junior golfers now stood in the way of England reaching the final. England had played the Swiss in the last three years in this championship and were well aware that they are a capable and talented team.

In the first foursomes Stephen Lewton and David Porter never got the better of Raphael De Sousa and Bilbo Perrot and went down 3&2. In the second foursome Daniel Wardrop and Scott Jackson let a three hole lead after nine holes slip and stood on the last tee all square. Both Jackson and Ballmer found the green from accurate tee shots on the par four 18th. Weiss raced the Swiss birdie putt as Wardrop putted up to two feet above the hole. Ballmer missed the five foot par put for Switzerland and Jackson calmly holed the downhill two footer to win a close fought match by one hole.

With the foursomes shared England had a fight on their hands to reach the Final. First out for England Lewton could not find his form of earlier in the week, two down through nine to Bilbo Perrot he was struggling to make much impression. Bilbo Perrot played magnificently to run out a 4&3 winner, finishing the match in style with a birdie three at the par 4 15th.

In the second match Scott Jackson fell behind early, four down after 7 to Daniel Zurschmitten. Jackson fought back well and with a birdie at the short 14th reduced the deficit to one hole. Zurschmitten then birdied 15, pars at 16 and 17 were good enough to seal him a two and one victory over Jackson who was clearly disappointed with his putting.

Simon Bell following his maiden win against Finland played sound solid golf to maintain his 100% record, two under par when beating Damian Ulrich. Bell had given England a glimmer of hope against a fired up Swiss team who now lead 3-2 and only needed one point for victory.

Michael Skelton was having a tussle with Tino Weiss, one down through 14, he needed to win to give England any chance. Both Skelton and Weiss missed birdie putts on 15, Weiss pitched his tee shot at the short downhill par 4 16th to two feet for a killer birdie that would put him two up with two to play. Skelton's approach shot to the par 4 17th was short and it was asking a lot to hole his 50 foot birdie putt to keep the match alive, Weiss putted his 25 foot birdie putt to the side of the hole and a 2&1 victory. It was enough to give the Swiss team a well deserved victory.

Wardrop's match still going could now not effect the result, he battled on against the experienced Raphael De Sousa to earn a halved match and maintain his unbeaten record.

Switzerland had played with great passion and determination for a well earned 4.5 - 2.5 victory against an England team who had not played to their full potential. Switzerland with the experienced De Sousa and Perrot who had played for their Men's team the previous week would now play Sweden in the final. England as in Holland the previous year had looked favourites following leading the stroke play qualification stage would now have to regroup and face a talented Spanish team for a medal position and automatic qualification for the World Junior Golf Team Championship in 2002.

SATURDAY 14th JULY - Day three Match Play

England shared the morning foursomes with Spain to go into lunch 1-1, Daniel Wardrop & Scott Jackson defeated Alvaro Quiros & Alejandro Canizares by 3 and 2 with Michael Skelton and Stephen Lewton loosing to Rafael Cabrera & Miguel Cuestas' birdie two at the par three 20th.

The top match in the afternoon singles was an intriguing encounter, David Porter level par and 4 down through seven holes to a fired up Pablo Larrazabal started a miraculous come at the par four ninth hole. He then won the 10th and eleventh with a birdie three, further birdies at the short 14th and 15th put Porter one up, Larrazabal however fought back with a birdie three at 16. The 17th was halved in four and a solid par 4 at 18 was enough to give Porter a 1 hole victory to which he deserved great credit for the way he stuck to his task.

Steven Lewton 6 up through seven holes against Alvaro Quiros did not take his foot off the pedal and was five under par when he finished his man off 7&5.

Scott Jackson struggled from the start against Alejandro Canizares (Son of former European Tour and Ryder Cup player, Jose Maria Canizares) being 4 down after seven holes. Jackson put up a fight but Canizares was too strong and came out a winner 4&3. Interestingly, Canizares looked the best player in the Spanish Team but is not allowed to play too much competitive golf by his father who is adamant that he must first gain qualifications and an education before considering a career in the professional game.

With the score at 3-2 to England the match looked in the bag as Daniel Wardrop reached the turn 5 up against Miguel Cuesta, but Cuesta had other thoughts and fought back in courageous style to stand on the 18th tee one down. Following solid drives by both players, Cuesta's second shot finished 20 feet past the hole with a tricky down hill putt. Wardrop pulled his second shot badly and left himself a ridiculously difficult chip to the undulating green, which he knocked 20 feet below the hole. Cuesta finished his fight back with a coolly rolled putt for a birdie three to take the match into sudden death as there was not a conclusive match result at this stage.

Extra time was not however needed and Wardrop and Cuesta's match was declared a half to the great relief of the England supporters and Wardrop himself, as news that Simon Bell has pulled off a marvellous two and one victory against the strong Spaniard Rafael Cabrera. Bell had performed admirably all week on his debut for England, playing with true Yorkshire grit he had been unbeaten in all three singles matches which he played.

At the end of a very exciting encounter with the Spanish in which England earned the bronze medal position behind Sweden who defeated Switzerland in the final Mr Roy Case, Captain of the England Boys Team was pleased with last day performance. Case said " the team performed today with passion and pride something which we lacked against Switzerland in the quarter-final and I am delighted for the boys who have all contributed towards our success this week".

Another European Boys Championship completed and some stars of the future have begun to identify themselves in European golf, the Polish Federation and the Amber Baltic Golf Club are to be congratulated on putting on a marvellous show for the 19 countries who participated.

 

 
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