2019 European Team Championships
The European Team Championships for amateur golfers get underway this week. Six different championships featuring over 500 players will be staged at five venues across the continent.
From 9 to 13 July the men will compete at Ljunghusen Golf Club in Sweden, the ladies at Is Molas Resort in Italy, the boys at Golf de Chantilly in France, and the girls at Parador El Saler in Spain. Two additional events, the Men's and Boys' Division 2 Championships, will be held in conjunction at Toya Golf & Country Club in Poland from 10 to 13 July.
For each championship, teams are made up of six players. Over the first two days, all players will complete two rounds of individual stroke play, with the five lowest scores from the teams' six players counting towards their aggregate total each day. The top eight teams after the first two days will qualify for Flight A of the match play rounds and compete for places 1-8 over the final three days.
The teams finishing outside the top eight in the stroke play qualifying will compete for final position (9 to 16 or higher depending on the number of teams).
In the match play stages, countries go head to head. In each match play flight or bracket, teams are seeded: the top qualifier from the stroke play rounds will start by playing the bottom qualifier in that flight, the second highest qualifier the second-worst qualifier and so on. If a team loses in the first round of match play, they will then compete with the other three defeated teams for positions 5-8 of their flight. If a team wins in the first round, they will then compete for the top four position in their bracket on days four and five.
Encounters where teams are still in contention for medals are made up of two foursomes matches in the morning and five singles matches in the afternoon, with seven total points available. Teams need a minimum of four points to win a match.
Unless the overall result of the match has been decided, matches cannot be halved. This means that if a match is still all-square through 18 holes, players will continue from the first hole in a sudden-death format, until a hole is won.
In matches where medals cannot be won by the competing teams, for example in matches between teams finishing outside of the top-eight in the stroke play, one foursomes match and four singles matches are played, with teams needing three points to win.
To win a championship, a team will need to qualify in the top eight position in the stroke play qualifying, and then win all three of its matches.
European Amateur Team Championship, Ljunghusen GC, Sweden
16 teams will travel to Sweden for next week's championship. After gaining promotion by winning the Division 2 event in 2017, Finland went on to win the Division 1 event last year. After finishing eighth in the stroke play qualifying, they upset top-qualifiers, Sweden, 4-3 in the first match play round. They then defeated hosts, Germany, by the same scoreline in the semi-finals and came out on top against England in the championship match by a score of 5-2.
This year's hosts, Sweden, won the first two editions of the European Amateur Team Championship in 1959 and 1961, although have failed to win the event since. They came close to victory in 2010 and 2016, the years they last hosted the championship, but lost out to British opposition in the final on both occasions.
Historically, the British teams have dominated the event: of the 35 editions played so far, 11 have been won by England, eight by Scotland, and six by Ireland. Spain, the 2017 champions, and last year's European Boys' Team Champions, are the most successful country on the continent with four wins.
Belgium will be looking to repeat Finland's feat of winning the Division 2 then Division 1 championships in consecutive years after earning promotion in style in Poland last July. Slovenia and Wales are the other two nations that earned promotion from the Division 2 event last year.
Players have been contending with cold and wet conditions in the practice rounds, and will have to face strong winds on the first day of stroke play.
European Ladies' Team Championship, Is Molas Resort, Italy
20 teams will compete at Is Molas Resort in the ladies' event this year. France looked like the team to beat last year after dominating the stroke play qualifying and comfortably progressing through their opposition to the final. However, second-place qualifiers, Sweden, got the better of them in the championship match. The win drew Sweden level with France for all-time victories in the championship, with both teams now on eight.
England are again the most successful team in the event, with 10 victories. But after winning the event in 2016 and 2017, the English ladies could only manage sixth place last year.
This year's hosts, Italy, are yet to win the event. It is the only European Team Championship title that the country lacks, having already won the Amateur, Boys' and Girls' Championships. They have come close on several occasions, finishing as runners-up four times, most recently in 2017, and will be hoping to go one-better on home soil this year.
Players will face a very dry golf course at Is Molas, and have had to contend with very hot conditions in the practice rounds.
European Boys' Team Championship, Golf de Chantilly, France
96 players will have the pleasure of competing at Chantilly Golf Club, consistently ranked amongst the top courses on the continent, in this year's European Boys' Team Championship. After finishing as runner-up in 2017, Spain went one better to secure victory in the Czech Republic last year, and having the second greatest number of victories in the event all-time (seven) could be the team to beat once again. Alvaro Mueller-Baumgart Lucena, and David Puig Currius, both ranked inside the European top-15, will feature for the Spanish team.
Hosts, France, last won the championship in 2016, and will be hoping home advantage can help them add to their tally of three victories. The team will also be helped by recent Murat Cup winner, Charles Larcelet, who won the prestigious event at the same golf club at the end of May.
Norway, Portugal and Iceland return to the Division 1 event after earning promotion from Division 2 in Hungary last year.
European Girls' Team Championship, Parador El Saler, Spain
18 teams will travel to Golf Club El Saler for the European Girls' Team Championship. The course is regularly ranked amongst the top-10 courses in Europe, and top-100 in the world.
The European Girls' Team Championship is the only event of the main four where England do not hold the most number of victories over time. Sweden have been the team to beat with eight victories, while hosts, Spain have won seven. However, the Italian teams have imposed in the last few editions, winning the event in both 2016 and 2018. The Spanish team finished runner-up last year and will be hoping that home advantage can take them one spot higher this year.
European Amateur & Boys' Division 2 Team Championships, Toya G&CC, Poland
18 additional teams (10 in the men's and eight in the boys) will tee it up at Toya Golf & Country Club Wroclaw, competing for promotion to next year's Division 1 championships. The format for the Division 2 event is slightly different, teams play two rounds of stroke play qualifying as normal, but then just two rounds of match play, with the top-three teams in the final classification of each event earning promotion.
Italy, Portugal and Serbia were the bottom-three ranked teams at the European Amateur Team Championship last year, and will be hoping to bounce straight back up to Division 1. In the Boys', Belgium, Wales, and Scotland suffered relegation, and will be attempting to do the same.
Hosts, Poland, will feature teams in both the men's and boys' events, hoping that home advantage can earn promotion for them both.
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