Europe: Final of European Team Championships

BACK ON TOP: England celebrate their European Team Championship at Royal County Down

Sweden stunned by superb English singles display

EUROPE: Sunday July 11th

England raised their game in stunning fashion to beat international powerhouses Sweden and claim their first European Team Championship since 2017 at Royal County Down last night.

After the foursomes were halved, England were unbeaten in the five singles matches and ran out 5-2 winners against a side who were looking for their fourth successive victory in the annual European Golf Association competition.

The spirit and determination of the English squad was epitomised by Yorkshire’s Charlotte Heath. The Huddersfield player took on World No 3 Maja Stark, who finished 16th at the US Open last month, and was four down early on but turned it around in remarkable fashion to record a 2&1 success.

“We knew as a team we had to get something out of the foursomes against Sweden and that gave us belief,” said Jenny Henderson, Performance Manager (Female) for England Golf.

“And we managed to put the Swedes under pressure by playing some exceptional golf. We holed putts and managed to get the momentum at just the right time and I think it is fair to say that we won it rather than the Swedes throwing it away.”

Heath’s extraordinary fightback saw get it back to one down after ten before eagling 12 and then birdieing 13 to be one up and she didn’t let up to seal the deal on the 17th green.

Meanwhile Gloucestershire’s Caley McGinty capped a stellar week with a 6&5 demolition of the world No 9 Beatrice Wallin. The Knowle player won four out of her five matches in the knockout stages.

In the morning she succesfully paired with Cornwall’s Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay), who maintained her remarkable matchplay record at Royal County Down. The 2019 British Amateur champion is undefeated in her last nine singles matches at the Northern Ireland venue.

A day earlier Toy led from the front as England came back from 3-0 down to beat Scotland 4-3.

Having lost both foursomes – Heath also lost 4&3 to current British Amateur champion Louise Duncan (West Kilbride) – the Cornwall star was faced with the formidable obstacle of the competition’s in-form player Hannah Darling.

The Scottish teenager had been three shots clear of the rest during the 36-hole strokeplay qualifier but Toy ran out 3&1 winners to record a critical point.

In the next singles match Surrey’s Annabell Fuller (Woburn) had a titanic battle with Hazel Macgarvie (Royal Troon) and holed four 10-foot-plus putts in a row to stay level from 15 onwards before birdieing the first extra play-off hole to take the point.

In the bottom match Northumberland’s Rosie Belsham (Whitley Bay) found herself two down to Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam and won it on the 18th and England maintained that momentum the next day against the then reigning champions. 

England’s winning squad: Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay), Caley McGinty (Knowle), Annabell Fuller (Woburn), Charlotte Heath (Huddersfield), Rosie Belsham (Whitley Bailey), Lianna Bailey (Kirkby Muxloe).

Flight A – matchplay scores
Quarter-finals
Scotland 4, Spain 3
Czech Republic 2, England 5
Sweden 4, Denmark 3
Ireland 2.5, Italy 4.5
Semi-finals
Scotland 3, England 4
Sweden 5, Italy 2
Final
England 5, Sweden 2
3rd/4th place play-off
Scotand 1.5, Italy 5.5
5th/6th place play-off
Czech Republic 2, Denmark 3
7th/8th place play-off
Spain 3, Ireland 2
Final standings
1) England
2) Sweden
3) Italy
4) Scotland
5) Denmark
6) Czech Republic
7) Spain
8) Ireland
9) France
10) Switzerland
11) Germany
12) Iceland
13) Slovakia
14) Finland
15) Netherlands 
16) Austria
17) Wales
18) Slovenia
19) Belgium