Debutant Gregory helps hosts retain St Andrew’s Trophy

Scott Gregory   Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Scott Gregory Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Scott Gregory

Gregory and Ellis key men for Walker Cup mission

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Corhampton’s Scott Gregory picked up three points out of four on his Great Britain and Ireland debut as the hosts retained the St Andrew’s Trophy at Prince’s last week with a thrilling comeback draw against Continental Europe.

Having won the trophy at Barseback in Sweden two years ago, captain Craig Watson’s team had everything to do after trailing 8-4 after the first day’s play.

Gregory, who was paired with Ireland’s Stuart Grehan in both foursomes matches, was beaten by Gaiano and Spaniard Ivan Cantero-Gutierrez in the first morning match.

But the British Amateur Champion, who missed the cut in his debut at The Open Championship at Royal Troon a week earlier, bounced back brilliantly with a 3&2 win over Dutchman Jereon Krietemeijer in the afternoon singles.

That came courtesy of an eagle at the 15th and a birdie at the 16th as he made four threes in a row to finish five-under over his last four holes.

Great Britain and Ireland needed a fast start in the second set of foursomes and Gregory and Grehan were able to pick up their first point as a pairing.

A 5&4 win over European Amateur Champion Steffan Mazzoli and fellow Italian Luca Cianchetti arrived after the hosts got to six-under par through 14 holes.

Two more wins and a half meant there was just a point between the sides at lunch. And Watson sent the country’s number one amateur out first in the singles, desperate to get all square as quickly as possible.

And the 21-year-old Hampshire ace, who only made his full England debut against France in May, rewarded his captain’s faith.

A two-hole win over Krietemeijer put GB&I ahead for the first time in the match after Grehan closed out the second match with a 4&3 win over Cianchetti to tie the match at 8 1/2–8 1/2.

With Gregory looking in charge at the turn and three up after 12, the Dane made four birdies in a row to get back to all square, only to lose the par-three 17th with a four after both had birdied 16 with threes.

Scott finished with his third three in a row to finally claim his point.

The hosts had been up in three matches and all square in a couple more, but with Continental Europe narrowly ahead in the remaining two matches, it was clearly going to be nip and tuck right till the last putt was holed.

Welshman David Boote secured the vital win needed to tie the match thanks to a one-hole win over Cantero-Gutierrez.