Captain Matthew Clark ‘proud’ of Scots after winning start at Lahinch

Scottish captain Matt Clark drives at the 13th tee during day one of  the Home Internationals at Lahinch. Picture: Courtesy of GUI
Scottish captain Matt Clark drives at the 13th tee during day one of the Home Internationals at Lahinch. Picture: Courtesy of GUI
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Scotland made a winning start in the Men’s Home Internationals with a hard-earned victory over hosts Ireland at Lahinch.

Bidding for a first win in the four-cornered event since 2012, the Scots triumphed 8.5-6.5 after digging deep to edge the afternoon singles session.

After the foursomes finished 2.5-2.5, Ryan Lumsden and James Wilson led the way for Scotland with 2&1 wins over Walker Cup duo Conor Purcell and Caolan Rafferty.

Further victories for captain Matthew Clark and new cap Connor McKinney, coupled with halves from Kieran Cantley, Eric McIntosh and Darren Howie, then secured the win.

Stuart Easton then added another half in the penultimate match as the Scots joined holders England in tasting success on the opening day.

“To beat Ireland in Ireland is a rarity,” said a delighted Clark. “I was at Portrush in 2015 when we got a heavy beating.

“I know historically we don’t do well against Ireland in Ireland. Understandably Ireland have a strong team, they’re a strong unit.

“They work well as a team. It’s something I’m trying to instil in my players – the team ethic and the way they behave around one another.

“I’m beyond proud of these boys. We’ve got five newcomers. They’ve done themselves exceptionally proud.

“To us, this is about developing the team. It’s nice to see things move in the right direction for us.”

Clark, who is playing in the event for the eighth year in a row, beat rising Irish star Tom McKibbin by two holes in the singles.

“He’s obviously a rising superstar of Irish golf. More importantly, he’s a very, very nice young man. I enjoyed it,” added the Kilmacolm player.

“He’ll take it tough. He’s been beaten by an old, fat man effectively but that’s part of the game.”

The Scots now take on Wales, who drew with England in the foursomes before only managing to pick up half a point in the singles to go down 12-3.

“We don’t come here to lose. England and Ireland were heavy favourites coming in,” said captain Clark.

“We’ve managed to deal with Ireland today so fantastic result. Wales will be tough tomorrow.

“They put up a good fight against England in the foursomes and they’ll be hurting from the singles. I hope we can sneak past that and we look forward to the English on Friday, there’s no better battle.”

Results

England 12 Wales 3

Foursomes: Tom Sloman & Tom Plumb bt Ben Chamberlain & Lewys Sanges 2 holes; Ben Jones & Jake Burnage bt Jake Hapgood & Jacob Davies 4&3; Matty Lamb & Ben Hutchinson lost to Connor Jones & George Bryant 1 hole; Bailey Gill & Joshua McMahonlost to Matt Roberts & Kieron Harman 3&2; Callum Farr & Ben Schmidt halved with Gaelen Trew & Tom Froom.

Singles: Harry Hall bt Chamberlain 4&3; Plumb bt Davies 7&6; Burnage bt Hapgood 5&4; Jones bt Sanges 4&3; Lamb bt Rhys Evans 3&2; Hutchinson bt Roberts 5&3; Gill bt Jones 5&3; McMahon bt Harman 2&1; Schmidt bt Froom 4&3; Farr halved with Trew.

Ireland 6.5 Scotland 8.5

Foursomes: Conor Purcell & Keith Egan bt Ryan Lumsden & Matt Clark 1 hole; James Sugrue & Robert Brazill lost to James Wilson & Connor McKinney 3&2; Caolan Rafferty & Tiarnán McLarnon bt George Burns & Eric McIntosh 2 holes; Colm Campbell & Tom McKibbin halved with Lewis Irvine & Stuart Easton; Ronan Mullarney & Séan Flanagan lost to Euan McIntosh & Kieran Cantley 1 hole.

Singles: Purcell lost to Lumsden 2&1; Rafferty lost to Wilson 2&1; Mullarney halved with Cantley; McKibbin lost to Clark 2 holes; Matthew McClean halved with Eric McIntosh; Egan lost to McKinney 3&2; Flanagan halved with Darren Howie; Brazill bt Irvine 3&2; McLarnon halved with Easton; Campbell bt Euan McIntosh 2&1.

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