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Europe Hang On At Bonallack Trophy

by Colin Callander - March 31, 2014

Europe survived a stirring last-day fightback to defeat a battling Asia Pacific team in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy at the Karnataka Golf Association course in Bangalore, India.

The visiting side went into the final morning with a commanding 12½-7½ lead after the first four series of foursomes and four-balls but saw that advantage cut to just three points after the home side won the singles, 7-5.

However, Europe’s haul of 17½ points still was enough to claim the trophy for the fourth match in succession and to give the European captain, Welshman Andy Morgan, his second win in a row after also leading his side to victory at Monte Rei in Portugal two years ago.

The star of Morgan’s 2014 side was Englishman Ryan Evans, who celebrated his 27th birthday by winning four out of his five matches, including an impressive 6-and-4 singles victory against luckless Australian Taylor Macdonald, in which he birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th, eagled the par-5 11th and then continued the streak with three further birdies on the next three holes.

Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan also won his singles to claim three points out of five during the contest, a total duplicated by England’s Ashley Chesters, Spain’s Mario Galiano, Italy’s Renato Paratore and German duo Dominic Foos and Max Röhrig.

Scotland’s James Ross accumulated 2½ points out of 4, including a comprehensive 5-and-3 victory against Japan’s Shinichi Mizuno in the singles, while all of the members of the European side contributed at least one point to the cause.

Denmark’s Mads Søgaard and Robbie Van West from the Netherlands were the other Europeans to claim a point in the singles.

“The battle was tough and our players had to fight really hard out there,” admitted Morgan.

“Asia Pacific played really well today and after Dominic Foos squandered a big lead to lose match No. 6 to China’s Jin Cheng it looked as if the pendulum was starting to swing their way.

“However, James Ross and Gavin Moynihan steadied the ship by winning match No. 7 and 8 and that was enough to ensure we retained the trophy.

“The best part of this tournament was that all 13 of us arrived in Bangalore as individuals but travel back to our respective countries as one team,” Morgan added.

“Those boys will never forget this tremendous experience no matter what else they go on to achieve in their careers.”

Highly promising English teenager Marco Penge has announced that he has switched to full-time amateur golf at the age of just 15. The reigning English Under-15 and Under-16 champion indicated he had obtained special permission to leave Forest Boys School in Horsham just after finishing second behind Jamie Dick at last week’s Darwin Salver at Rye.

“I wasn’t going to go to college and already know I want to be a professional golfer so I thought I might as well leave school early so I could throw everything at it,” Penge told Stephen Hollis during an interview for his local Argus newspaper.

“Other people seem to think it was a big decision, and have said I need a back-up plan if things don’t work out with my golf career, but the way I see it this will help me achieve my ambitions,” he said.

“I’ve had to miss loads of school over the last few years to play in tournaments anyway and it just became increasingly more dificult to fit my golf schedule around my schoolwork. Now, instead of fitting in a couple of hours of practice after school each day, I am down at the golf club from 9 am to 5 pm every single day so I think that is going to make a big difference.”

Penge had to play second fiddle to Dick during the Darwin Salver. He fired rounds of 73, 71, 72 and 69 but that still left him seven shots behind the Gloucestershire player, who sailed past a strong field with rounds of 70, 70, 69 and 69 to claim the biggest title of his career to date.

Penge’s next competitive outings are at the Duncan Putter and the McEvoy Trophy as he bids to break into the top 100 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking and qualify for this year’s Junior Ryder Cup at Blairgowrie.

“My ultimate goal is to turn professional but I’m not sure when I will do that,” Penge said. “It depends how things pan out. I’m going to go to the tour school at the end of the year for the experience but if I do well and win my card I’d have to make a big decision.”

England’s Garrick Porteous will bid to follow in the footsteps of Bryden Macpherson and Alan Dunbar when he tees up in this week’s Georgia Cup at the Golf Club of Georgia.

Matt Fitzpatrick

Porteous would become the third successive British Amateur champion to win the annual charity match that pits the British amateur champion against his American counterpart if he can defeat compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick over 18 holes round the Lakeside course at the prestigious Georgia club.

The Georgia Cup was inaugurated back in 1998. Across 16 competitions it has been won eight times each by the reigning US and British Amateur champions.

Matt Kuchar set the ball rolling for the US champions when he defeated Scotland’s Craig Watson by 3 and 1 in the inaugural contest in 1998 and since then David Gossett, Ricky Barnes, Ryan Moore, Richie Ramsay, Colt Knost, Danny Lee and Peter Uihlein have all won the event as the reigning US champion.

Spaniard Sergio García was the first British Amateur champion to win in 1999 and he was joined in the winner’s circle by Finland’s Mikko Ilonen (2001), Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey (2002), England’s Gary Wolstenholme (2004), Ireland’s Brian McElhinney (2006) and Italy’s Matteo Manassero (2010) before Macpherson defeated Kelly Kraft in 2012 and Dunbar overcame Steven Fox 12 months ago.

This year marks the sixth time that no American has featured in the contest although it is the first time that two GB&I players have been pitted against each other. Wolstenholme beat Australia’s Nick Flanagan in the first final staged without an American in 2004 and the same thing happened in 2006 when McElhinney defeated Italy’s Edoardo Molinari. Subsequently, Scotsman Ramsay defeated France’s Julien Guerrier in 2007, New Zealand’s Lee beat Holland’s Reinier Saxton in 2009 while Manassero got the better of Korea’s Byeong-Hun An in 2010.

World No. 2 Fitzpatrick owes his place in the Georgia Cup to his 4-and-3 defeat of Australia’s Oliver Goss in the final of the 2013 US Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., where he became the first English winner of the Havemeyer Trophy since Harold Hilton back in 1911. That victory also secured him a spot in next week’s Masters at Augusta National.

Porteous booked his place in both the Georgia Cup and The Masters after defying winds gusting up to 40 mph to defeat Finland’s Toni Hakula by 6 and 5 in the 36-hole final of the 2013 Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club in Kent.

The British champion has indicated he will turn professional straight after The Masters.

Lundin’s Niall McMullen left the big names in the shade when he won the rescheduled Scottish Junior Champion of Champions event over the Duke’s course at St Andrews.

The Fife youngster went out in the first match before the worst of the cold and wet weather and carded a fine 1-under-par 70 to finish a single shot ahead of Caird Park’s Connor Cook and George Burns from Williamwood.

Dumfries and Galloway’s Connor Syme was fourth with a 72 while 2013 British Boys’ champion Ewen Ferguson, from Bearsden, was fifth, three shots further back.

The 16-year-old McMullen started his round with a birdie and was 2-under par after 11 holes before finishing bogey-birdie-birdie to pip Burns and Cook.

Two-time Scottish Schools champion Syme ran up a 7 on the par-5 sixth and he was not the only leading player to struggle because Ferguson had a triple-bogey 7 at the 17th while tournament favourite Bradley Neil, the reigning Scottish Boys’ champion from Blairgowrie, had three 7s in a 10-over-par 81 that left him languishing back in a tie for 26th place.

Alessandra Braida claimed Italy’s third international title of the 2014 season when she won the Italian International Ladies’ Championship at Golf Club Castel Gandolfo in Rome.

The 23-year-old from Royal Park I Roveri near Turin carded rounds of 70, 71, 73 and 79 to finish six ahead of Belgium’s Clara Aveling and seven in front of France’s Anaelle Carnet on 5-over-par 293.

Braida’s success came hot on the heels of Paratore’s victory in this year’s Portuguese International Amateur Championship and just a couple of weeks after her compatriot Guido Migliozzi claimed the individual title in the men’s event at the European Nations Cup in southern Spain.

There was also further success for Italy at Castel Gandolfo because Braida teamed up with Carlotta Ricoli and Rosso Colombotto to give the Italy 2 squad a victory in the concurrent Nations Trophy. They finished with a team aggregate of 445, nine shots ahead of an Italy 1 squad comprising Roberta Liti, Virginia Elena Carta and Martina Flori.

“It feels great to win my first title in the international arena,” said Braida. “I was bit nervous at the start of the final round but my coach, Stephen Bellows, was following me and that calmed me down and helped me to find my game.”

The Italian International Men’s Championship, at Circolo Golf Is Molas on the island of Sardinia, was won by France’s Leonard Bem, who carded rounds of 70, 72, 70 and 74 to claim a two-shot victory ahead of the in-form Migliozzi on 2-under-par 286.

France also won the concurrent Nations Trophy when Ugo Coussaud, Grégoire Schoeb and Romain Langasque combined to claim a slender one-shot victory against an Italian squad comprising Migliozzi, Enrico Di Nitto and Teodoro Soldati.

Chloe Williams and Becky Harries of Wales both will be bidding to catch the eye of the Curtis Cup selectors when they play in The Leveret later this week at Formby Ladies Golf Club.

Neither Williams nor Harries is currently within the automatic places (made up of the top four GB&I players on the World Amateur Golf Ranking and the next two on the LGU Order of Merit), but both still could play their way into contention with a couple of strong finishes before the team is announced at the start of May.

Williams and Harries will start among the favourites to succeed compatriot Amy Boulden as Leveret champion after both impressed during last year’s tournament.

On that occasion, Boulden won the title for a second year in succession with a pair of 69s while Williams claimed a share of second place alongside Pleasington’s Hollie Vizard on 142 and Harries was fourth a further shot behind. Williams was also runner-up to Boulden in 2012.

Boulden has turned professional so is not defending but Williams and Harries are joined in this year’s field by Vizard, reigning English strokeplay champion Sarah-Jane Boyd, and Alex Peters, the winner of last year’s England Golf Ladies’ Order of Merit.

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


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