Craig Watson was “absolutely delighted” as his Great Britain & Ireland captaincy started with a successful defence of the St Andrews Trophy in Kent.
Returning to the neck of the woods where he won the Amateur Championship in 1997, the East Renfrewshire player watched the home side recover from trailing 8-4 overnight to secure a 12.5-12.5 draw against the Continent of Europe at Prince’s.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the result, especially after yesterday’s 4-0 result in the first session,” admitted Watson, who succeeded two-time winning Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards earlier this year. “It was always going to be difficult and the boys were disappointed to only draw 4-4 in yesterday afternoon’s matches.
Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest and Connor Syme of Drumoig won in the morning foursomes to help GB&I get back to within a point heading into the singles before both Syme and Glencruitten’s Bob MacIntyte contributed in the afternoon with halves.
“We got off to a good start today and the boys dug in well with a tremendous performance after being four down and knowing we had to take something into this afternoon. We continued where we left off and the boys were brilliant,” added Watson.
Elsewhere, Motherwell man Ross Kellett is lying second after a seven-under 64 in the opening round of the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France. Kellett’s flying start comes a week after he opened with a 60 before finishing joint-third on the second-tier circuit in La Gomera.
Elsewhere, US Open champion Dustin Johnson sank an eagle on the final hole to complete a six-under round of 66 and take a share of the lead of the RBC Canadian Open at Oakville alongside Luke List.
And, in the UL International Crown in Chicago, England made a perfect start by winning both matches against the United States in Thursday’s fourballs.
England top Pool B with four points after Holly Clyburn and Jodi Ewart Shadoff defeated Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson 2&1 and Charley Hull and Mel Reid beat Gerina Piller and Stacy Lewis by the same margin.
Thailand are second in Pool B on three points after winning one and halving one of their matches against Japan.
Chinese Taipei won both games against Australia to set the pace in Pool A with four points, while Korea and China split their two matches to share second place with two points apiece.