Both the European Women’s Team of Mel Reid and Carlota Ciganda and the England Women’s Team of Georgia Hall and Charley Hull advanced to Sunday’s knockout stage of the GolfSixes on an historic day at Centurion Club in St Albans.
After a loss against the USA and a draw against the reigning champions Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjørn Olesen from Denmark over six-holes of greensomes match play, the European women overcame the previously undefeated Thai pair of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee in the third session before knocking out Denmark in a play-off, to finish second behind Thailand in the Group A matches.
The top-two teams from each group of four advance to the quarter-finals and the European women will take on group B winners Sam Brazel and Wade Ormsby of Australia on Sunday.
Reid, who relishes team events, said she was proud of her performance with Ciganda. “It’s huge for women’s golf. I think this is a huge opportunity for us to showcase women’s golf. We don’t get the coverage and we don’t get as supported as I feel like we should and an event like this is huge for us.”
Ciganda enjoyed the innovations including music across the course and the fast and fun format. She said: “It was so much fun that I just wanted to play tomorrow. I had so much fun today in match play and especially with a great friend like Mel. It’s tough for Denmark, they had a three-putt, but it’s golf and we are happy to be here tomorrow to try to win the GolfSixes.”
England Women, who tied with England Men Eddie Pepperel and Matt Wallace in their first session, defeated South Africans George Coetzee and Haydn Porteous in the second session. They lost their final match 2-1 against Swedish pair Alexander Björk and Joakim Lagergren but finished above them on holes won, which left them second in the table behind England men.
England women will take on group C winners Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan of Ireland in the quarter finals.
The 2017 LET order of merit winner Hall said: “We’ll just do what we did today, enjoy it and take one shot at a time.”
Hull nearly made the England men run for the hills when she almost aced the first hole in their match to take the early momentum, but it was Hall who sank an incredible 25-footer on the sixth green to match the England men in eagles.
In the third session, Hull’s tricky six-foot birdie putt on the fifth green proved crucial in knocking out the Swedish pair.
The former LET order of merit winner and rookie of the year said: “It’s been great fun. I feel good vibes at this event and I think it’s really good because you see so many children and women and everyone around, and the weather is perfect.”
The European Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup captains Catriona Matthew and Thomas Bjørn respectively were defeated by Spain and Australia but had a close final match against Soomin Lee and Jeunghun Wang. Bjørn holed a slippery putt on the second to put the captains 1-0 up but the South Koreans birdied the last for a 1-1 draw and second place in Group B.