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Continent of Europe Leads Jacques Léglise Trophy at Halfway Stage

Images: ©The R&A/ Getty Images


The Continent of Europe lead Great Britain & Ireland 7.5 to 4.5 at the halfway stage of the 2023 Jacques Léglise Trophy in France.


The momentum went the visitors way in the opening hour of the morning foursomes matches at Golf de Chantilly, with the GB&I side going up in three of the four foursomes matches after the first few holes.


At the turn, it looked like the morning session could swing either way, with just one hole seperating all four matches on-course.


In the fourth match, Tim Wiedemeyer (GER) and Peer Wernicke (GER) were 1-down after eight holes against Niall Shiels Donegan (SCO) and Donnacha Cleary (IRL), but would win five of the next seven holes to put the first point of the day on the board for the home team.


Securing the first point of the day seemed to shift the momentum towards the European side, who would go up in all of the other three matches down the closing stretch in the following minutes.


Hugo Le Goff (FRA) and Louis Anceuax (FRA) won the 17th and 18th holes for a 2-up win against Hugh Adams (ENG) and Monty Holcombe (ENG), taking the score to 2-0 in favour of the trophy-holders.


Despite being 1-down with two to play, recently crowned R&A Boys' Amateur champion, Kris Kim (ENG) and team captain, Dylan Shaw Radford (ENG), turned their match around against the Spaniards to put the first point of the day on the board for the visitors.


In the final match of the session still on-course, Filip Fahlberg-Johnsson (SWE) and Simon Hovdal (SWE) closed out a 1-up victory for the Continent of Europe to take the score to 3-1.


The momentum stayed in favour of the European side in the top singles matches after lunch. In Match 1, Lev Grinberg (UKR) swept aside a struggling Oliver Mukherjee (SCO), 7&6, to score the first ever point by a Ukrainian player in the history of the contest.



Peer Wernicke (GER) soon followed with a 5&4 victory of his own over Kris Kim (ENG) to take the score to 5-1.


Niall Shiels Donegan (SCO) stopped the bleeding for the GB&I side, defeating France's Louis Anceaux 3&2 to put the first red point of the afternoon on the board.


Although a birdie-eagle finish from Tim Wiedemeyer (GER) to win 2up against the GB&I captain, and a 5&3 win from Simon Hovdal (SWE) took the score to 7-2.


The closing matches of the day went in favour of the visitors. Golf Ireland players, Donnacha Cleary and Sean Keeling added two points to GB&I's tally, while Hugh Adams (ENG) and Marcel Fonseca (ESP) couldn't be seperated after 18 holes, leaving the halfway total at 7.5 to 4.5.


2023 Jacques Léglise Trophy - Day 1 Highlights


"I'm very satisfied, it was a good fight today" said Continent of Europe captain, Joachim Fourquet (FRA). "This morning was a bit better for us and this afternoon was very tight but I’m delighted with a 3-point lead”


"I think the foursomes are a big strength for us. They’re used to playing together in the same nation, the French, Spanish, Germans and Swedish, so that’s something very helpful for the Continent of Europe."


A former winner as a player in the match, Fourquet will have a chance to lead his team to a record-extending fourth straight victory as captain on Saturday, and plans to keep the same strategy for his team on Day 2.


"It’s always the same thing, it’s still golf" said Fourquet. "Shot by shot and stay in the present. We won’t think about it too much, they’ll play the best they can and we’ll see".


The GB&I team will have to overcome a three-point deficit to win the match for the first time since 2018. "We had a good start in the morning and just let a few key moments slip in the last few holes" said GB&I playing captain, Dylan Shaw-Radford at the end of the day. 


"It was similar in the afternoon, but at times we were strong. The key tomorrow is to just play, I know all the lads in the team can play. We all agree that we hit one or two errant shots that cost us a few holes, so if we can get that sorted we’ll be okay tomorrow."


As holders, the Continent of Europe team needs five points from the 13 remaining matches on Saturday to get their hands on the trophy for a fourth straight time.