Golden weekend for European golf at Gleneagles
The semi-final line-ups in the inaugural Men’s and Women’s European Golf Team Championships have been confirmed, as the battle to be crowned golf’s first European Champions at Gleneagles gathers momentum.
In the men’s competition, Spain’s Scott Fernandez and Pedro Oriol will tee up against Italian duo Francesco Laporta and Alessandro Tadini, who knocked out the last remaining Great Britain Men’s team. Whilst, in the other semi-final, a second Spanish pairing of Santiago Tarrio Ben and David Borda will look to overcome Iceland’s Birgir Hafthorsson and Axel Boasson in the battle to reach the gold medal match on Sunday afternoon.
On the opportunity to win a gold medal for Iceland, Hafthorsson said: "That's what we are here for. If we can take a medal home, that's fantastic."
In the women’s competition, the top ranked Great Britain team of last week’s Women’s British Open, Champion Georgia Hall and four-time Major winner, Laura Davies will face Casja Persson and Linda Wessberg of Sweden.
In the second semi-final, French pair Justine Dreyer and Manon Molle will face the self-proclaimed “underdogs” of the Great Britain team, Michele Thomson and Meghan MacLaren.
Michele, from Aberdeen, said of the putt to secure their semi-final place: “It was the biggest putt of my career. It was just nice to hole it and give us a chance to get a medal. The approach shot to the 18th green was one of the best shots I've ever played."
Before the semi-finals, though, history will be made tomorrow (Saturday, 11 August) as men and women golfers tee-off together for the first time in the inaugural European Golf Mixed Team Championships.
Former Open Champion Paul Lawrie, who was at Gleneagles today as part of his Glasgow 2018 Ambassador activities, said of the Mixed Team Championship: "I thought it was cool when I read the format, ladies and men playing together. I think it’s phenomenal. Let's hope if it goes well we can think of doing more going forward because it would be great to have a regular mixed event. Why not?"
Eleven teams are competing, with the British duo of Laura Davies and Callum Shinkwin combining their 18-hole score with Georgia Hall and Lee Slattery leading out three Great Britain teams. Sweden will field two mixed teams and Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Iceland and Norway will field one each. The team scoring the lowest combined total will win European Championship gold.
With free on-site parking and under 16s getting free entry with a paying adult – tickets start at just £15 – Scottish golf fans are being encouraged to head along to Gleneagles to lend their support to what is proving to be a fantastic festival of golf.