England and Ireland recorded victories in blustery conditions on the opening day of the Senior Men’s Home Internationals at Southerness.
Hosts Scotland got off to a good start against Ireland in the morning foursomes, taking a 2-1 lead into lunch after Ronnie Clarke (Erskine) and Lindsay Blair (Grangemouth) notched a 3&2 victory against the Irish pairing of John Mitchell and Barry Hobson, while Robert Smith (Nairn) and Malcolm Reid (Sonning) defeated Maurice Kelly and Michael Quirke 5&4.
The afternoon session, however, was all about Ireland. As conditions worsened, Ireland fared better than the hosts, only losing one match on their way to securing a 5.5 – 1.5 victory.
Following the victory, Irish Captain Michael Coote said: “After losing the morning foursomes, we were on the back foot. In our team meeting between sessions, there was a lot of emphasis on keeping the ball low in the wind and we managed that in the afternoon and we are absolutely thrilled to get the better of Scotland on their home patch, especially in difficult conditions.
“The Senior Home Internationals is always a key focus for us throughout the year as there is great competition for places on the Irish team.
“It is always lovely to come to Scotland, the home of golf. I am huge into links golf, and my first reaction to Southerness is that it is the purest links golf I have seen. Southerness is a gem, a true treasure.
In the day’s other match, England, who are looking to make it three-in-a-row with a victory this week, overcame Wales 6 – 3.
England led 2.5 – 0.5 after the foursomes, then singles victories for Rupert Kellock (Sunningdale), Richard Norton (Beverley & East Riding), and Ian Attoe, along with a half point for Rich Jones (Rotherham), helped England to the victory.
England Captain Roy Smethurst said: “In extreme conditions, the players played really well and we are delighted to narrowly beat Wales in what was a highly contested and well fought match.”
Day 2: Play Cancelled – Storm Ali
A decision has been made to cancel play tomorrow due to Storm Ali. The Met Office has issued a weather warning and said Storm Ali could bring winds of 80mph with an amber warning is in place for large parts of the country between 08:00 and 17:00 on Wednesday.
After agreement from all four team captains, play will recommence on Thursday, where there will be a change to the original format.
Two sessions consisting of seven singles matches will take place, to ensure all three country v country matches are played.
Scottish Golf Championships team, along with the team captains will continue to monitor the situation and any changes will be posted on scottishgolf.org and on our social media channels.