Europe edge out GB&I to win Vagliano Trophy

Team Europe celebrate winning the Vagliano Trophy at Malone GC
Team Europe celebrate winning the Vagliano Trophy at Malone GC

A Saturday singles charge proved too little too late for GB&I as they lost out to Continental Europe in the Vagliano Trophy at Malone GC.

Trailing 9-7 after losing the Saturday morning foursomes 2.5-1.5, GB&I levelled it at 9-9 by winning the top two singles.

World No 1 amateur Leona Maguire beat Luna Sobron 4&2 while Bronte Law, ranked No 3 in Europe, beat Noemi Jimenez Martin 3&1.

As befits the top ranked player in either team, Leona finished the two day event unbeaten with 3.5 points out of four.

The 20-year-old led by example throughout and dominated Strom from the start, winning the first two holes and racing to a four up lead at the turn.

The Duke University student won the 10th to go five up, lost the 13th and 15th before finally closing out the match with a win on the 16th.

“I would loved to have gotten four points but three and half is as close as it comes,” said the Slieve Russell golfer who is playing in this week’s Ladies European Tour event, the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters.

“When you are out first, its important to try and get points on the board early and sort of rally everyone behind.

“It’s great when they can see that you have finished and that you have won. That was big this week.

“The European team is very strong this week. I didn’t think we would get as close as we did so overall it was a pretty good week.”

Other singles successes for GB&I came from Meghan MacLaren (one hole up against Albane Valenzuela) and Chloe Williams, a 3&2 victor over Europe ranked No 3, Madelene Sagstrom.

Hayley Davis trailed Olivia Cowan early but kept plugging away and won the 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th to lead by one hole for the first time.

But Cowan was not finished yet. She won the 18th for a halved match.

Olivia Mehaffey and Gemma Clews failed to register singles points for GB&I in the afternoon.

Clews lost 5&3 to Nuria Iturrios, while Mehaffey was beaten on the 18th by Celine Boutier as the second day honours were shared at 6-6.

Olivia finished the event with two points from a possible four and will now take a few days off before playing for Ireland in next month’s European Team Championships in Denmark.

The Continent of Europe won the Junior Vagliano Trophy for third time in a row at Malone but Great Britain and Ireland can derive some comfort from the fact that they scored their highest points total since the contest began.

The Europeans triumphed 10.5-7.5 in the end after leading 6-3 overnight.

Captain Claire Coughlan-Ryan’s team of six Under-16s “won” the final session of singles 3.5 to 2.5 and shared the final day honours 4.5-4.5.