Wales pulled off a performance in the division two competition at the European Team Championships which took them to the top level of European amateur golf.
Led by former European Amateur champion Rhys Pugh, Wales bounced back into the top level of European amateur golf after their performance in the division two competition at the European Team Championships.
The contest, which was held in the Czech Republic, was taken control of by the Welsh, with a remarkable clean sweep at the top of the leaderboard of the strokeplay stages. Rhys Pugh, along with US college students Michael Hearn and David Boote, held the top three places on eight under par.
Pugh and Boote will both be competing alongside Europe’s top golfing nations next year after 100 per cent records in foursomes and singles matches.
Wales team captain Chris Rees spoke positively about the team, saying “I have been involved with Welsh golf for nearly thirty years and that was the best performance I have ever seen in terms of the quality of play collectively by the whole team.”
Wales also maintained their strong performance by beating Slovakia 6-0 in the semi-final of the matchplay stage, followed by an equally impressive 5-2 victory over Poland in the division two final.
“It was a fantastic performance,” said Rees. “They were really motivated by trying to win everything to bounce back, they won the qualifying by 16 shots, got promoted back to division one by winning the semi and then the icing on the cake was winning the final as well.”
“Rhys Pugh, Michael Hearne and David Boote led the way in the strokeplay and then won all their match play contests as well. They are all studying in the US and that, added to the work done with the Golf Union of Wales and the structures in place here, mean they had the attitudes of winners from the start.”
It was also an important day for the Welsh ladies team, who qualified in the second flight of their European Championships in Slovenia. Becky Harries, who finished in 13th, was their top individual performer. They went on to take victories over Iceland and Ireland before losing in the final to Belgium.
The Wales girls team finished 17th after the strokeplay stages in Slovakia, then 18th overall after the matchplay section, beating Turkey and then losing to Poland.
Ben Waterhouse, the Golf Union of Wales Director of Performance, spoke about the ladies performance. The Golf Union organizes and selects all Welsh amateur teams and represents a membership of more than 50,000 people. He said “The Ladies ended up in the top 10, so can take encouragement from that and their matchplay performances, while the girls gained valuable experience that will stand them in good stead for the future.”
The boys’ team in Norway qualified well in the top eight teams, with Jack Davidson leading the way in 13th place. They went on, however, to suffer defeats in the matchplay stages to Italy, Spain and Denmark. Davidson won two of his three singles matches.
Waterhouse also commented on the boys’ performance, saying, “The Boys team did well to finish in the top eight nations in Europe. In the matchplay stages they were well beaten by Italy but had narrow defeats to both Spain and Denmark to show they were competitive at that top level.”