Kilkenny’s Mark Power is set to captain the Great Britain and Ireland side that aims to recapture the Jacques Léglise Trophy from the Continent of Europe when the match tees off at Ballybunion on Friday. Ireland’s sole representative on the team will be hoping to use home advantage to inspire his side to victory, having been part of the selection that narrowly lost out at Prince’s in Kent in 2016.
In all, four members of last year’s defeated panel return for another shot at their Continental rivals, with Alex Fitzpatrick, Toby Briggs and this year’s Peter McEvoy Trophy winner, Charlie Strickland, also back in the fold.
Irish eyes, however, will no doubt focus on Power who has established himself as one of the country’s top prospects in recent times. Having holed out for a miracle eagle to retain his Irish Boys’ Championship title already this year, Mark will be brimming with a confidence that team manager Stuart Wilson, taking charge of GB&I for the first time, will be anticipating others to draw on in their quest for glory.
GB&I have a fine record at the championship in recent years having collected the trophy at Royal St David’s in 2013 and at Barsebäck in Sweden in 2014. 2015’s match at Royal Dornoch was halved, meaning GB&I have an overall record of 28 wins, 11 losses and one draw at the tournament.
As for the play itself, the format for the Jacques Léglise Trophy will see four foursomes match-ups each morning, with eight singles matches on the afternoon of Friday, September 1st and nine singles matches on the afternoon of Saturday September 2nd.
The majestic Old Course at Ballybunion was announced as the host venue back in December 2014 having hosted The Irish Open in 2000, The Irish Seniors Open in 2009 and the Palmer Cup in 2004. No stranger to a big event, the County Kerry links will provide the perfect test for the rising stars of European golf to showcase their talents come Friday morning in an event of significant importance for these budding career golfers.
Although our game is best known for its individual brilliance and solitary formats, events such as the Jacques Léglise offer a welcomed alternative where friendships are forged and memories are shared. It is an education in teamwork that will stand to each competitor in their solo journeys further down the road, and having spoken to the likes of Cormac Sharvin, Gavin Moynihan and Stuart Grehan of late, they are some of the most enjoyable times these players have ever experienced on a golf course.
The players should treasure the moment, while those spectators making their way to The Kingdom for this year’s renewal should cherish the inevitably sublime golf.
The Jacques Léglise Trophy commences on Friday, Sept 1st at 7.00am – Saturday September 2nd.
The GB&I Team:
Toby Briggs (17), Dunston Hall, England
Alex Fitzpatrick (18), Hallamshire, England
Luke Harries (18), Tenby, Wales
Darren Howie (17), Peebles, Scotland
Ben Jones (18), Northamptonshire County, England
Thomas Plumb (18), Sherborne, England
Mark Power (17) (Captain), Kilkenny, Ireland
Charlie Strickland (18), Ham Manor, England
Robin Williams (15), Bishopsgate Golf Academy, England
Conor Gough (14)