Tuesday, May 30, 2006




Scotland can still win the European youths championship again this summer. That was skipper Barclay Howard's defiant message after he watched his team go down 5 1/2-3 1/2 to Ireland in a friendly Under-21 interational over the Lansdowne course, Blairgowrie today.

"We've got the potential within our squad of players to keep the European title. We've just got to get them to play to that potential," said Barclay.

The damage was done as far as the Scots were concerned in the morning foursomes. Scotland were not able to win any of the three ties. Lloyd Saltman and Paul O'Hara lost by one hole after very tight match against Seamus Power and Aaron O'Callaghan.

Scott Henry and Steven McEwan did come back from one down after 16 to get a square game with Fergal Rafferty and Neil O'Briain but Philip McLean and Peter McLachlan were well beaten, 6 and 4, by Shane Lowry and Simon Ward.

Saltman, O'Hara and Henry won the top three singles for Scotland - which was an encouraging sign with July's European youth championship in mind - but Ireland took the last three singles.

Saltman, who defends the Scottish open amateur stroke play championship over his home Craigielaw course this coming weekend, was three down after eight holes to Seamus Power, the Irish youths champion.

Then Walker Cup man Lloyd showed his class and grit by fighting his way back to square the match on the 16th. The 17th was halved and then Saltman won the 18th when Power missed the green on the left with his approach and could not get up and down. It was the first time in the tie that the Scot had led.

"If I had holed the birdie putt which Seamus conceded on the last green, I would have been round in level par, which doesn't sound too bad but I felt I could have played a lot better than that," said Lloyd.

Paul O'Hara had amazing run of success after slumping to three down against Aaron O'Callaghan after only eight holes.

"I won six holes in a row from the nine, with two or three birdies and the rest pars. I don't think I've every had a run like that in a match-play tie before, " said a cock-a-hoop O'Hara, who was roughly one under par when he won by one hole.

After an indifferent start against Neil O'Briain, Scott Hendry settled to play steady golf that saw hm go two up after nne and three up after 11 holes.

"I did just enough to win after that," said Scott. "Neil birdied the 13th but we halved the rest of the holes from there."

International debutant Philip McLean from Peterhead was on the receiving end of big defeats in the foursomes and singles but the bare 6 and 5 scoreline against Fergal Rafferty did not do the Buchan lad justice.

"I was only two over par when the match finished. Fergal was five under par. He played some great golf. I enjoyed the experience and I learned a lot from playing at this level for the first time," said Philip.

Scottish youths champion Peter McLachlan lost by 5 and 4 to Shane Lowry in the afternon after sliding quickly out of contention from two down at the turn.

Scottish boys' stroke-play title-holder Steven McEwan was two up after 11 holes on Simon Ward. Had he been able to maintain that position, Scotland would have escaped with a 4-4 draw. But it was not to be. By the 16 tee, the Irishman had turned the tables to be one up and he clinched victory of the Irish by a 2 and 1 margin.





Youth international match

Lansdowne course, Blairgowrie



L Saltman (Craigielaw) & P O'Hara (Colville Park) lost to S Power (West Waterford) & A O'Callaghan (Douglas) 1 hole.

S Henry (Cardross) & S McEwan (Barassie) halved with F Rafferty (Dungannon) & N O'Briain (Royal Dublin).

P McLean (Peterhead) & P McLachlan (Eastwood) lost to S Lowry (Esker Hills) & S Ward (Co Louth) 6 and 4 (1/2-2)


Saltman bt Power 1 hole.

O'Hara bt O'Callaghan 1 hole.

Henry bt O'Briain 2 and 1.

McLean lost to Rafferty 6 and 5.

McLachlan lost to Lowry 5 and 4.

McEwan lost to Ward 2 and 1 (3-3).