England trail Ireland 3-2 in the title decider at the Men’s Home Internationals after a tight foursomes session was decided by the final group on the 18th hole.
Ireland, the defending champions, struck first on a cold, blustery morning, with frequent showers. Their top pair Paul McBride and Conor O’Rourke, got up early in their game and went on to beat Matthew Jordan and Gian-Marco Petrozzi 2/1.
New England caps Jack Gaunt and David Hague have been on top foursomes form, winning both their earlier games, but they met their match in Colin Fairweather and Caolan Rafferty, losing 5/4.
Then it was England’s turn to fight back. Dan Brown and Todd Clements (pictured bottom) started with an eagle and then made several birdies as they played their way to a 3/2 win over Peter O’Keeffe and Robin Dawson. “It’s been so windy you just had to do the simple things well and we both played really solid,” said Brown.
Josh Hilleard and Will Whiteoak (pictured top) added their point with their 4/2 win over Conor Purcell and Alex Gleeson. They made their move after the turn, winning 10, 11 and 12 with a sequence of birdie, conceded birdie, birdie. It put them three up and they kept piling on the pressure with another birdie on 15 and a great approach to the 16th green which finished about 6ft away and was conceded after Ireland missed their birdie attempt.
The final game, featuring England’s Jake Burnage and Bradley Moore against Colm Campbell and John Ross Galbraith, produced stunning golf over the closing stages.
Ireland edged two ahead after a birdie on 15, but England narrowed the gap with a birdie on 16, after Burnage played his approach to 6ft and Moore holed out. The 17th was halved in birdie, with Burnage firing his tee shot to within 3ft of the pin and Moore again calmly holing out after the Irish has slotted their 8-footer.
But on the last, England were at the back of the green in two and Moore’s birdie attempt slid narrowly past, leaving Ireland with two putts for their 1up win.
In the play-off for third place, Wales continued their winning foursomes form and lead Scotland 3.5-1.5.
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