New international Sarah-Jane Boyd is the toast of the England team tonight after she pulled the side through to the semi-finals of the European ladies’ team championship at Fulford, York, with a dramatic singles win on the 21st hole.
The cheers rang out from the crowd of spectators who stayed into the evening to follow her crucial match and who watched as she holed the 2½-footer which gave England a 4-3 victory over the Netherlands.
“I have never felt so much pressure,” said the 21-year-old from Truro in Cornwall, who is pictured with her celebrating team mates (image © Leaderboard Photography). “It’s for the team and you know everyone is wanting it so much. It was the best feeling I have ever had when that putt went in.”
Tomorrow England will play Spain in one semi-final. The other will be contested by Finland and Austria, who caused the upset of the championship so far, when they knocked out top qualifiers Denmark.
The quarter-finals started with great promise for England when the team won both the morning foursomes. The lead pairing of Georgia Hall and Hayley Davis were on stunning form, defeating their opponents by 7/5. They had four birdies and an eagle as they swept to victory on the 13th hole. Then, Bronte Law and Lauren Taylor secured the second point in a tight match which ended on the 18th and which kept a large crowd enthralled.
It meant England needed just two wins from the five singles – but before long the match turned into a cliffhanger and for much of the afternoon it looked as though the team would fall just short.
British champion Georgia Hall was always up in her match and duly secured her point with a 4/3 win. But behind her the rest of the team was faced with a determined charge from the Netherlands, who won three of the remaining games to level the scoreline.
Sarah-Jane was also trailing for much of her match and in fact was only ever ahead once – when it counted on the 21st. She was two down after three holes but gradually pulled back, getting to one down after seven and all square after 13.
Her opponent birdied the 15th to go back to one up, but Sarah-Jane came straight back with her own birdie on the 16th to square matters again. Hole after hole was then halved, with both golfers producing thrilling golf. On the 20th, for example, the Dutch player conjured up a miracle shot from an awkward stance in a fairway bunker, rifling the ball into the green. Meanwhile Sarah-Jane pitched up stone dead from a swale by the green to secure the half.
The decider was the par three 21st, where Sarah-Jane’s tee shot found the green and she two-putted for par, while her opponent’s shot was just short and she failed to get up and down.
Sarah-Jane is making her England debut this week, having won the British stroke play and English championships within the last year. England captain Emma Brown commented: “She did really well to hold her nerve, she’s playing in this team environment for the first time and she was very impressive. There was some great golf over the last few holes, it was fabulous.”
Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak) & Hayley Davis (Ferndown) beat Charlotte Puts and Ileen Domela Nieuwenhuis 7/5
Bronte Law (Bramhall) & Lauren Taylor (Woburn) beat Myrte Eikenaar and Dewi Weber 1 up
Hall beat Martien Schipper 4/3
Law lost to Eikenaar 1 down
Davis lost to Dewi Weber 3/2
Sarah-Jane Boyd (Truro) beat Nieuwenhuis at 21st
Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough) lost to Puts 1 down.
England tee off against Spain tomorrow at 9.10am. Order of play:
0910 Georgia Hall & Hayley Davis
0920 Bronte Law & Meghan MacLaren
1430 Georgia Hall
1438 Sarah-Jane Boyd
1446 Hayley Davis
1454 Lauren Taylor
1502 Bronte Law