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GOLFING DOMINANCE: Europe retain Vagliano and Junior Vagliano trophies

Image credit: The R&A

The continent of Europe continued its longstanding domination of the Vagliano and Junior Vagliano trophies, emerging triumphant in the senior and junior international matches against Great Britain and Ireland at Royal Dornoch.

The Vagliano Trophy match resulted in a 13½-10½ victory for the Continent of Europe, leaving Great Britain and Ireland without a win since 2005. Meanwhile, the Junior Vagliano Trophy match ended in a nail-biting draw, with both teams finishing tied at 9-9.

Led by newly appointed captain Ane Urchegui Garcia, the senior team comprised a talented lineup of women from Spain, Germany, Belgium, and Sweden. The team's combined efforts secured a well-deserved victory, with German player Helen Briem clinching the winning point in a 2&1 singles victory over Caley McGinty.

Expressing her elation, Captain Urchegui Garcia said, "I'm so happy. I feel very proud of the players. This was a very tough match to play, and I want to congratulate Great Britain and Ireland captain Maria Dunne because her team played great golf."

The day started with the morning foursomes, which saw Great Britain and Ireland level the contest at eight points apiece after winning 2½-1½. With the challenging weather conditions of strong winds and driving rain, the home side seemed poised for a tense finish. However, the Continent of Europe showcased exceptional play, swiftly taking control of the match and leaving their opponents trailing.

During the singles sessions, England's Lottie Woad secured a notable victory, defeating Belgium's Savannah de Bock with a solid score of 2&1. Aine Donegan of Great Britain and Ireland achieved a similar result, triumphing over world number one Ingrid Lindblad. These victorious singles matches were the only wins for Great Britain and Ireland before the bottom five players in Captain Urchegui Garcia's lineup rallied, securing consecutive victories for the Continent of Europe.

“My team was very nervous after losing the morning foursomes but they were determined to go out and fight and they did,” Urchegui Garcia added. “I didn’t have to say anything to them at lunchtime to try to inspire them. They were doing that on their own. They were cheering each other on because there was such a spirit in my team. They all played for each other and inspired each other to this victory.”

GB&I captain Dunne took heart from winning the morning foursomes, hoping her team would kick to victory.

“I’m gutted for my players,” said Dunne. “We gave it our all. I asked them to fight for every point. They did and I couldn’t really have asked for anything more from them.

“They fought hard to level the match after this morning’s foursomes but we just came up short. On another day the result would have gone our way but we can do ourselves proud because it was so close. The European team was just stronger on the day. They were better putters than us this afternoon, and that was obvious over the two days. We can be proud of ourselves for the way we fought.”

Briem was one of three players on the Continent of Europe team to record three points out of four along with Spain’s Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio and Meja Ortengren of Sweden. Only Woad on the GB&I team managed that feat.

There was a modicum of consolation for GB&I in that the Junior Vagliano Trophy finished level on nine points apiece. However, it meant that the Continent of Europe secured the trophy for the eighth straight time having never lost since the inaugural 2011 match.

“It says a lot about the strength of junior golf on the Continent of Europe,” said Continent of Europe captain Myrte Eikenaar, who was skippering the junior team for the third straight occasion.

“It says a lot about the girls that we’ve kept the trophy. They’re not just great golfers but they bring a lot of energy to the team, and it’s great that in a few days they can become so tightknit and fight for each other.

“It’s good to see that GB&I keeps drawing closer. Every year it gets tighter and that’s good for the match. I’d love to have gotten the win because it always feels better, but it’s great to retain the trophy and I’m proud of the girls.”



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