France take early lead over England

Hilleard Gregory

It’s first blood to France! The visitors took the honours in the opening session of this weekend’s international with a 2½-1½ win over England in this morning’s foursomes at Formby Golf Club, Lancashire.

It was a hard-fought morning, played under sparking blue skies, and three of the four games went to the 18th. The early advantage went England’s way and the team was up in all four matches over the opening holes, but the French gradually made ground and finished strongly.  

However, the pairings of Josh Hilleard/Scott Gregory and Ashton Turner/James Walker made sure that England stayed in touch before the singles session.

Hilleard and Gregory (pictured) secured England’s winning point with a very solid performance which included five birdies and took them to 3up after 14 holes – and which then helped them withstand everything France could throw at them.

Their opponents began a fightback in dramatic style on the 15th, where they were lucky to find their ball in deep rough, chipped out sideways – and then holed the shot to the green for a birdie three. The next two holes were also won by France, but the England pair played beautifully on to the 18thgreen and secured a 2 hole win after their opponents bunkered their approach.

Turner and Walker halved their game with very gutsy golf. They led for the first 12 holes of the match, but had dropped two behind after 15. But they were far from finished: they won the short 16thwith a birdie, held on for a half on 15 where they completed a remarkable up and down when Walker holed a nasty, downhill six-footer; and won the 18thafter their opponents went out of bounds.

In the top game, the writing was perhaps on the wall when the French pair holed a 40-footer on the first for a half. However England’s Alfie Plant and Bradley Moore made a good start to their game and were still all square after 13. But the French closed them out with a run of par, par, birdie and a 3/2 scoreline

Jamie Bower and Paul Kinnear were involved in an intensely close match and held a one-hole lead after 16 holes. But the French birdied the 17thto get on level terms and won the 18thwith a par after the England ball caught a greenside bunker.

 “It was what we anticipated,” said England captain Kevin Tucker. “We knew it would be a tight, hard match.”

His advice to his players for the singles is simple: “Play your own game, you are well prepared, keep playing as you have prepared.”

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