Scottish Seniors claim European title

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Scotland won the European Senior Men’s Team Championship at Diners Golf & Country Club Ljubljana in Slovenia.

The Scots beat Germany in the final by 3.5 – 1.5, having held the upper hand throughout. Their success ensures a notable European double for Scotland, after the Men’s side won their European title in France in July.

Broomieknowe’s David Gardner and Malcolm Reid (Sonning) teamed up for victory in the foursomes, before Graham Bell, from Downfield, and Meldrum House’s Nick Robson clinched victory with their triumphs in the singles.

This was the first European team victory for the senior men in 10 years, having beaten Ireland to win the inaugural event in 2006. They were runners-up the following two years, Ireland turning the tables on both occasions. Their best results in the intervening years came in 2010, when they finished third, as they did last year in Poland, when the Irish won their third title in a row.

The team’s playing captain, Gardner, was part of those close calls. He said: “This was my sixth European Championship and we’ve been third twice and fourth twice so we’ve been knocking on the door but haven’t quite got over the line. I think best way to describe how we feel about winning, is that when they played Flower of Scotland at the trophy presentation, there were tears all round.

“The team spirit was fantastic all week, on and off the course, and the best of all the top teams. I was the poor relation of the team but the quality of the golf was really good and we really dug in so it was a big team effort.

“For me, following on from the men’s team winning their European title earlier in the year, it was a target for us to win and keep Scotland’s position as a major player in amateur golf.”

Ronnie Clark, last year’s Scottish seniors’ order of merit winner, added: “We had a slow start as Nick had back problems on the first day but we still got through in second place. Ireland were once again favourites, as their 11-under team total put them miles ahead of everyone else, but we were probably marginal favourites after that. So it was a shock when they were beaten in the quarters, and we thought, if we won the Scotland-England semi, we would go on to win.

“We dismantled France in the first knock out match and then it was a close game in the end against England. The final itself was pretty tense as the foursomes went down the last hole, but then Graham Bell won his singles to keep his one hundred percent record, and it was down to Nick to hole the winning putt.

“This is the biggest buzz we’ve all had in team golf down the years. European champions, it doesn’t get better than that. Scotland hadn’t been in a final since 2008 and not won in 10 years which shows what an achievement it is.”

The senior men’s team now heads to the Home Internationals later this month, although Robson drops out being a year too young for the over-55’s event, and John Fraser (Royal Burgess) and David Shields (Glenearn) will come in to form the seven-player Scotland side at Machynys in Wales from 20 to 22 September.

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