Cover photo: Golffile/ David Lloyd
The semi-finals of the 2021 European Team Championships have been completed.
Tee times, match play brackets and results for all championships can be accessed through the link below:
Hosts, Spain took on France in an epic semi-final at PGA Catalunya Resort. The French team took the early advantage, going up in both foursomes matches on the front nine. They would hold on to put two points on the board by lunch.
The Spanish team fought back however. The first two singles matches of the afternoon were won convincingly by Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra and Alvaro Mueller-Baumgart, taking the score to two points each.
Incredibly, through 15 holes, all of the last three singles matches were all-square. Joel Moscatel won his match on the 18th for Spain, while the other two went into extra holes.
With the score at 3-2, the Spanish team needed just one more point to clinch a spot in Saturday's final, while France needed to win both of the matches in extra-time.
Clément Charmasson made the score 3-3 on the 21st hole of his match with David Puig after the Spaniard hit an approach shot into the penalty area and was unable to save par.
The final match between Julien Sale and Luis Masaveu went all the way to the 5th extra hole. Masaveu looked like he might win the match for Spain with a par on the 4th extra hole after Sale short-sided himself behind the green. An excellent par save would send the match to the tricky par-3 5th however.
Masaveu failed to make par, while Julien Sale was able to make a three despite a visit to the green-side bunker. The win secured France a spot in Saturdays' championship match, their first appearance in the final since 2011.
Denmark faced Belgium in the other semi-final of the day. The morning foursomes points were shared, making it 1-1 heading into the afternoon.
Frederik Kjettrup won the first singles match 5&3 for Denmark, but James Meyer de Beco responded with a win in the second afternoon match for Belgium to tie the score again.
Recently crowned European Amateur Championship, Christoffer Bring, showed why he earned the title with a 6&4 win in the third singles match. Again, Belgium responded with a win of their own to take the score to 3-3.
Adrien Dumont de Chassart and Soren Broholt Lind were all-square through 15 holes in what would be the decisive match. The Dane managed to win the match by one hole, giving his team a chance to win their first ever European Amateur Team Championship title on Saturday.
England will play Sweden in the final of the European Ladies’ Team Championships at Royal County Down.
Sweden look for a fourth straight victory in the event, which would be a record for any nation in all 62 years of European Team Championship history.
On paper they have looked like the team to beat this week, with four of their players currently ranked inside the top-ten of the Women's World Amateur Golf Rankings.
England completed a stellar comeback in their semi-final match having lost both morning foursomes matches to top seeds Scotland. Emily Toy, who won the 2019 Women’s Amateur Championship at Royal County Down, secured a 3&1 win over leading individual qualifier Hannah Darling, before Annabel Fuller, Caley McGinty and Rosie Belsham all closed out their matches in England’s favour.
‘It was a really good match, it was close all the way and to finally win on the 19th, I knew we needed that one so it’s a relief,’ said Fuller, who beat Scotland’s Hazel Macgarvie on the 19th. ‘This team is the closest and most driven England team I’ve been involved with. It’s about the team doing well, if we get off to a strong start tomorrow I think we can get the job done.’
Watching from the side-lines was England Golf’s Performance Manager and Team Captain, Jenny Henderson.
‘That was some golf out there from both sides,’ said Henderson. ‘I think we knew what we had to do this afternoon, we wanted to get ahead early, we wanted to bring those points in and they went out fighting. You can never be too sure on these days.
‘The momentum from this afternoon will give the girls the self-belief that we can compete with Sweden but tomorrow is a new day and we will treat it as such.’
Hosts, Ireland will play Spain on the final day in a battle to finish in 7th position.
A win against the Spaniards would equal Ireland’s best finish at a European Ladies Team Championship in 15 years, with a team not finishing in the top 6 since 2005.
Both semi-finals at Fureso Golfklub in Denmark were decided by just one point.
Number-one seeds Germany, faced a strong Swedish team. Both of the morning foursomes matches went down the 18th, with either side ultimately claiming a point.
Sweden took the lead in the match in the afternoon. Daniel Svard defeated top individual stroke play scorer, Tim Wiedemeyer, in the first singles match to give Sweden a one-point lead.
Germany then claimed two of the last three matches, while Wilmer Edero won another point for Sweden.
That meant Tom Haberer and Nino Palmquist’s match would decide the tie. On the first extra hole, Haberer holed a five-metre putt to send Germany into Saturday’s championship match.
Italy played the Czech Republic in the second semi-final of the European Boys’ Team Championship.
The morning foursomes were split one win each, meaning the afternoon singles would decide the encounter.
Elia Dallanegra got Italy off to an excellent start in the afternoon with a 7&5 victory, although the Czech Republic responded with two victories of their own.
Marco Florioli claimed his match 4&3 for the Italian side to tie the score at 3-3.
The final match on the course between Sebastiano Frau and Jakub Janda couldn’t be decided over 18 holes. The Italian player was able to win the first extra hole however and send Italy to their first European Boys’ Team Championship final since 2014.
The first semi-final started with France, number-one seed after the stroke play qualifying, and Denmark, seeded 5th, both winning one foursome in the morning. The French team then went through the singles more easily by winning three of the afternoon matches, securing their spot for the finals on Saturday against Spain.
The second semi-final pairing began with Spain winning both foursomes in the morning over Sweden. The afternoon singles gave quite the fright to the Spanish players, with Sweden winning three of the afternoon matches.
The outcome went down to a crucial play-off between swedish player Rebecca Gyllner and Spanish player Julia López. The latter was able to qualify her team for the finals on the 20th hole.
Italy delivered a solid performance againt hosts, Portugal. After winning their foursomes match, the italian team defeated their opponents in the afternoon with two more wins of 3&2 and 4&3 in the singles.
Czech Republic won their match against the Netherlands, delivering a strong performance through all their matches and winning with a total of 4-1. Czech Republic will face Italy in the final matches to fight for 5th position in the final ranking of the championship.
Portugal will play against the Netherlands on the final day in the battle for 7th position.
The final scores and the full lineup of Saturday's matches can be found on the event page here.
How do the European Team Championships Work?
Each team is made up of six players. Over Day’s 1 & 2 all players complete two individual stroke play rounds. The team’s five best scores out of the six from each day count towards their stroke play qualifying totals.
Based on finishing position in the stroke play qualifying, the top eight teams from each championship qualify for the medal-contention Flight A bracket.
The format for the three remaining competition days is match play. Nations go head-to-head, with two foursomes matches in the morning and five singles matches in the afternoon.
In the match play brackets, teams are seeded based on their qualifying position, (1 vs 8, 2 vs 7 etc.). Winning teams advance in their brackets, while losing teams play against other defeated nations to determine final position.
To win the title, a team must qualify for Flight A and then win all three of its matches. Teams placed second and third are awarded silver and bronze medals.
In the men’s and boys’ tournaments, three teams are normally relegated to the Division 2 championships. However, due to the current Covid-19 situation, no teams will be relegated this year.