Wales golfers had one of their best ever results in winning the European Nations Cup, with Llanwern's Jack Davidson winning the individual title and earning a place in the Walker Cup squad.
Wales had only ever once won the European Nations Cup before, in 2002 and also won the European Team Championship in 1993, but this win was up there as one of the best in Welsh amateur golf history.
Davidson followed up his win at the Spanish Amateur three weeks ago by winning the individual title by four shots from Ireland's Robin Dawson at Sotogrande in Spain, while teammates Llanwern's Owen Edwards and Walton Heath's David Boote both finished tied 10th.
Celtic Manor's Josh Davies completed the quartet and all four contributed at least two scores with the best three rounds each day counting towards the team total. Wales finished a remarkable 11 shots clear of second placed Ireland with Spain third and Scotland fourth.
Davidson finished five under par, Dawson the only other player to finish under par four shots back in tricky conditions in the South of Spain.
“This proved Wales can compete at the highest level, there is certainly a bit of a buzz among the boys,” said 20-year-old Davidson.
“We turned up believing we could do well and this has given us all big confidence for the season. It is a team game, but we all concentrated on our own business and then added the scores up at the end.
“We knew we were good enough to win and every other country here knows we are good enough to win.
“We were leading from the off, Ireland caught us up at one point, so to win in the fashion we did in the end was a great effort from the boys.”
Davidson was told by the Walker Cup selectors he had been added to the squad shortly after the end of the final round, joining Boote and Edwards to make it three Welsh players in the squad to prepare for the match against the USA. A team of 10 will be selected later in the year.
“I was approached after we had finished to be told they had now added me to the Walker Cup squad, so that was good,” said Davidson, who is concentrating full-time on golf but has no immediate plans to turn professional despite recent good finishes in Portugal and South America before the two wins in Spain.
“To have two weeks in a row like this is a pretty good feeling, it has been quite surreal.
“I was surprised there were only two of us under par but it is a very tricky golf course, the conditions were tough and windy.
“Towards the end there was such a big gap between second and third it felt more like match play between Robin and myself for the individual title.
“I was keeping him at arm's length and then I knew I just needed to par the last couple of holes. I was never comfortable on that course, but once I hit the green on the par three 17th I relaxed my shoulders and walked it in a little bit
“The last three weeks have been amazing, they could not have gone any better, I have worked hard on my putting because that was what was holding me back before and it clicked pre-season.
“I put together a plan with Neil Matthews (the Wales National Coach) at the start of the winter and really nailed it for three months.”
Golf Union of Wales director of performance Gillian O'Leary added her congratulations to the team and coaching staff that achieved such a big victory for Welsh golf.
“Jack was in a different league this week and the attitude of the other guys was phenomenal, they all struggled at different times but worked it out,” she said.
“A lot of it has to go down to the hard work Neil Matthews has done with this crop of players, he has been in post the last eight to ten years when these players have been coming through the system and they have been nurtured in a brilliant way.
“I just hope they build on this now and achieve the individual success which is within their reach. To have three Welsh players in the Walker Cup squad is brilliant and they very much deserve it – they were all outstanding from start to finish.”
Posted on 3 April 2017 at 12:00