The GB&I team turned around a 7-5 overnight deficit to win by four points over the Continent of Europe team.
The winning point was secured by Ireland’s Luke Lennox, who kicked his afternoon singles match into life with an eagle on the third to go two up against his French opponent Romain Wattel. Lennox played steady golf from there on in to follow the victories of England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Ireland’s Alan Dunbar and Scotland’s Michael Stewart, the team captain, in the afternoon.
Stewart was thrilled with his side’s performance in coming from behind to win the match in such style. “It’s a team filled with fantastic players,” he said after the match, “and we pulled out a really gutsy performance just when we needed it.”
All the winners on the final day were in performed well, but in a tightly-fought contest in the afternoon the half point secured by Eddie Pepperell was vital to the team effort: Pepperell was three down after just six holes in the first match of the afternoon, but chipped away at Kasper Sorensen’s lead from then on. Sorensen birdied the 16th to get back to two up, but then finished double bogey-bogey to open the door for Pepperell.
The last two singles matches only mattered for pride, but you could see how much the result mattered to the participants. Frederik Kollevold and Tom Lewis battled all the way to an honourable half, while England’s Stiggy Hodgson punched the air and cheered as he holed the putt on the last which gave him a one-up victory over Max Kieffer in the final match.
Yet as impressive as the singles performance was, the foundation for the victory had been laid in the morning foursomes in which Great Britain and Ireland dominated to win three matches out of four and wipe out the Continent of Europe’s overnight 7-5 lead.
In the first match of the morning Eddie Pepperell and Gary King made two birdies in the first five holes to take a two-hole lead against Spanish duo Carlos Pigem and Emilio Cuartero, a lead that they would never relinquish. A birdie on the 16th helped them close out the match with a 3&2 win to take the first point.
In the second game of the morning, it looked for a long while as if the Italian pair of Matteo Manassero and Cristiano Terragni would win. They birdied the ninth to go one up, and when they doubled that lead after Michael Stewart and Ben Enoch bogeyed the 12th it seemed that they would hang on to claim a point. But a brave fightback from Scotland’s Stewart and Welshman Enoch coupled with a weak finish from the Italian pair changed all that. Manassero and Terragni bogeyed 16 and 17, then hit two shots into the burn on the last to hand the match to the home side.
The third match looked as if it would involve a similar reversal of fortune, with Frederik Kollevold and Daniel Jennevret losing the 16th to the birdie of Tommy Fleetwood and Stiggy Hodgson to cut the deficit to one. But the Scandinavians held firm, and steady pars on the last two holes saw them close out the one-hole victory.
In the morning’s final foursomes match, the Irish pairing of Luke Lenox and Alan Dunbar proved as successful today as it had yesterday. Birdies on the 3rd, 6th, 12th and 13th put them into a four-hole lead, and though the Continent came back into it by winning the 14th, Dunbar and Lennox won the next to close out the match 4&3.