England were agonisingly edged out by Ireland in a thrilling finale to the Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals at The Nairn Golf Club which went to the final putt on the final green.
After a superb three days’ golf over the stunning Highland links, Ireland retained their crown after the annual four-team home nations contest came down to the final match on the course, contested between England’s Adam Chapman and Ireland’s Colm Campbell.
Irish Amateur champion Campbell won the opening five holes of their singles joust, but Carus Green’s Chapman staged a stirring comeback that saw him pull level with a 15 feet birdie putt on 17 to set up a tense, grandstand finish.
With the overall score at 7 –7 England just needed a halved point to lift the Raymond Trophy on the basis of matches won throughout the week. But Campbell birdied the hole after his two-and-a-half feet putt was generously conceded, while Chapman could only make par after finding the greenside bunker with his approach to the par-5.
It mean an historic Irish three-in-a-row of Men’s Home Internationals crowns and the Warrenpoint player was mobbed by his jubilant team-mates. Ireland had come back from a 3 – 2 foursomes deficit to claim the title, notably winning the final three matches when they trailed 7 – 5.
Nigel Edwards, Performance Director at England Golf, said: “That was extremely gutting, disappointing. I’m proud of the way the whole team played. It was a tough week weather-wise, but there were a lot of good shots, attitude and effort. You could see on the 18th how disappointed they were.
“Ireland came out strong this afternoon in the singles and we gave ourselves a lot to do, but the players battled so, so well coming down the closing holes. It was an excellent contest and it’s come down to one putt. That’s what the championship wants. I’m sure it’ll make our players stronger, wiser and better players.”
England’s Ashton Turner did enjoy some late cheer, winning the Fairstone Player of the Championship after his six straight victories.
Meantime, hosts Scotland dug deep to secure a narrow victory over Wales, also winning 8 – 7, to achieve third place overall.
England team: Dan Brown (Masham), Adam Chapman (Carus Green), Will Enefer (Wrekin), Harry Hall (West Cornwall), Josh Hilleard (Farrington Park), Marco Penge (Golf at Goodwood), Alfie Plant, (Sundridge Park), Gian-Marco Petrozzi (Trentham), Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park), James Walker (The Oaks) and Jack Yule (Middleton Hall).
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12th August 2016
England men in title showdown
England face defending champions Ireland today in a winner-takes-all final day meeting at the Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals at Nairn Golf Club.
On a wet and wild day in the Highlands, the English were always in control as they thumped Wales 11.5–3.5 to top the table after day two.
Leading 4 – 1 after the foursomes, they pressed home their advantage with Gian-Marco Petrozzi, Marco Penge and Harry Hall posting emphatic triumphs, with Ashton Turner, Alfie Plant and James Walker also winning by the 3&2 margin.
Petrozzi, 19, making his first Men’s Home International appearance, said: “We’re in a good position going into tomorrow, so hopefully we can do the business against Ireland.
“It’s winner-takes-all, so it should be good fun out there tomorrow. It’s been a really good week, good fun. It’s great playing in a team environment which we don’t really do throughout the season so it’s been really enjoyable.”
Meanwhile Irish eyes were smiling as they achieved a stirring comeback against the Scots to keep alive hopes of a third straight title.
The hosts had responded from their opening day defeat to England to claim a commanding 4 – 1 advantage over the Irish. But the Scots were blown away in the afternoon winds as Ireland produced a dazzling singles performance to win 8.5 – 6.5, with the home side only claiming two-and-a-half points from the 10 matches post lunch.
Such was the weather, the lunchtime singles matches were delayed by 30 minutes as the greenkeeping team cleared water from the course, but the pause certainly didn’t affect Ireland or England.
Scotland and Wales start proceedings at 7.30am this morning, with England and Ireland following thereafter as they battle for the Raymond Trophy.
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10th August 2016
England beat the ‘auld enemy’
After the early Highland sunshine gave way to steady drizzle, it was England who still managed to shine as they edged to an 8.5 – 6.5 victory over the Scots, the reigning European Amateur Team champions.
With the foursomes shared in the morning the singles went England’s way, after key one-hole wins for Adam Chapman and Dan Brown over Graeme Robertson and Craig Ross, while Ashton Turner also took out home member Sandy Scott 5&3.
Craig Howie, Liam Johnston and Matthew Clark all replied with emphatic triumphs for the Scots, but Marco Penge won the final game on the course, 2&1 over Jamie Savage, to seal victory. It was more Highland success for Penge, given he won last year’s Carrick Neill Scottish Open Stroke Play at Moray.
England could reflect on a job well done, given the difficult conditions. “It wasn’t as tough as it could have been, and I’ve played in a lot heavier rain this year so far,” admitted Turner, after his win over local Scott.
“It was good fun this afternoon, obviously as expected the crowds were a little bit against me, but I tried to put that out of my mind and it was nice to get a point for the team. We’re trying to prise the trophy away from Irish hands so hopefully this will be the year for England.”
Ireland, meanwhile, bidding for a hat-trick of Home Internationals titles, held firm to also edge a close match with Wales, 8 – 7. Conor Purcell’s one-hole victory over Jack Davidson ultimately proved decisive.
Tomorrow’s matches see Scotland take on Ireland and England up against Wales, with the destination of the Raymond Trophy still very much up for grabs.
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9 August 2016
Highland battle lines drawn as Nairn welcomes Home Internationals
The Nairn Golf Club will add to its already illustrious history this week when it plays host to the premier amateur team event for male golfers across GB&I
The Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals will be fought over three great golfing days as the four-cornered team event heads to the Highlands from 10 – 12 August.
Contested annually between sides from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, it offers a chance for the leading lights from men’s amateur golf to shine in a team environment – just as Europe and the US will do in next month’s Ryder Cup.
Top players who have lined up in the event in the past before going on to make their name in the pro ranks include Rory McIlroy, Colin Montgomerie, Danny Willett and Ian Woosnam.
All four teams will boast strong line-ups with England represented by Dan Brown (Masham), Adam Chapman (Carus Green), Will Enefer (Wrekin), Harry Hall (West Cornwall), Josh Hilleard (Farrington Park), Marco Penge (Golf at Goodwood), Alfie Plant, (Sundridge Park), Gian-Marco Petrozzi (Trentham), Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park), James Walker (The Oaks) and Jack Yule (Middleton Hall). (Image copyright Kenny Smith)
The line-up from defending champions Ireland includes GB&I player Stuart Grehan, while the Wales team features rising talent Joshua Davies. Scotland’s side will have a mix of youth and experience, with Sandy Scott, 18, and Calum Fyfe, 19, joined by the likes of Matthew Clark and Barry Hume, both 34, and Euan McIntosh, 47.
Nairn is recognised as one of Scotland’s best traditional links courses, and is a past Walker Cup and Curtis Cup venue. It was founded in 1887 with the sweeping coastal course created and shaped beside the Moray Firth through the combined effort of legends Archie Simpson, Old Tom Morris, James Braid and Ben Sayers.
Lee Hartley, Chief Executive of Fairstone Financial Management, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Home Internationals for the fourth consecutive year and are very proud of our association with the governing bodies of the amateur game in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
“Fairstone has enjoyed a very strong relationship with Scottish Golf, who we have sponsored since 2010, which has helped grow our brand among golfers and golf clubs in ‘The Home of Golf’ and beyond. As the UK’s largest Chartered Financial Planning firm, we share many of the same values as those enjoyed on the golf course, which will be epitomised by the very best players in the country during what promises to be a fantastic week at The Nairn Golf Club.”
Entry to the Fairstone Home Internationals is free of charge for spectators. Live scoring will be featured on scottishgolf.org, with a daily highlights package shown on Scottish Golf’s social media channels, thanks to support from The R&A.