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Thursday, 09 August 2018
Callum Shinkwin and Lee Slattery  (Getty Images)
Callum Shinkwin and Lee Slattery (Getty Images)
Great Britain 1's Lee Slattery and Callum Shinkwin breezed past Sweden 1 as Group A was blown wide open on day two of the European Golf Team Championships at Gleneagles.

After their opening match against Spain 2 finished all square, Great Britain 1 knew they needed to take something from their clash with Johan Edfors and Per Langfors to keep alive their hopes of topping the group and progressing to Sunday's semi-finals.

And they duly delivered, leading from start to finish in a commanding 6 and 5 victory which takes their tally to three points.

Spain 2, meanwhile, won the last hole of their topsy-turvy match against Sweden 2 to secure a superb one-hole victory and join Great Britain 1 at the top of the group.

And with only one team from each group going through to the last four, Friday's final Group A matches promise to produce plenty of drama.

Great Britain 1 flew out of the traps on Thursday morning, taking an early two-hole lead courtesy of back-to-back birdies from Shinkwin at the opening two holes.

Two-time European Tour winner Slattery got in on the act, firing a birdie at the fifth, before Shinkwin made two more gains at the eighth and ninth to give Great Britain 1 a five-hole lead.

Shinkwin's fifth birdie of the day at the 11th was cancelled out as Sweden 1 won their first hole at the 12th but the British pair won the next to claim the two points on offer for a win.

Slattery was pleased with his team's performance.

He said: "We had a great day today. We felt we threw it away a little bit yesterday, so we were a little bit down.

"But to come out of the blocks like we did today with birdies for us both on the first two holes, we just went on from there. We had a lot of birdies and Callum’s putter has been red-hot."

Spain 1 became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals in the Men's Team event after recording a 2 and 1 win against Poland in Group C, while Portugal got off the mark, beating Denmark by the same scoreline.

Iceland completed an impressive turnaround on day two, recording a 2 and 1 victory over Italy 1 to set up a winner-takes-all Group D showdown with Norway on Friday.

Birgir Hafthorsson and Axel Boasson found themselves three down at the turn but won four holes on the spin from the 11th - including an eagle at the 14th - and claimed another hole at the 16th to open up a two-hole lead.

The victory moved Iceland level on four points with Norway at the top of the table after they fired birdies at the 17th and 18th to beat Belgium by two holes.

Boasson knows Iceland will need to be at the top of their game when they come up against in-form Norway.

He said: "We play Norway tomorrow, who are a good team, so we’ll need to bring our A game and keep on going with the game plan and hopefully get the win."

Norwegians Jarand Ekeland Arnoy and Kristian Krogh Johannessen stormed into an early lead after winning the first two holes but were pegged back as Christopher Mivis and Lars Buijs took the third and fifth.

Norway went ahead twice more with birdies at the tenth and 12th but Belgium levelled things up with birdies of their own at the 11th and 15th.

But Norway finished with back-to-back gains to take maximum points. 

Arnoy said: "It'll be an interesting game against Iceland tomorrow, but it’ll be fun and we're looking forward to it."

Home hopes Connor Syme and Liam Johnston beat Neil O'Briain and Michael Hoey of Ireland 2 and 1 to join Italy 2 on four points at the top of Group B ahead of their decider tomorrow.

Francesco Laporta and Alessandro Tadini beat Great Britain 2 duo Rhys Enoch and Charlie Ford 2 and 1 in the group's other game.

In the Women's Team event, Ricoh Women's British Open champion Georgia Hall and Dame Laura Davies booked their place in the semi-finals after beating Germany 2's Isi Gabsa and Leticia Ras-Anderica 4 and 3 to top Group A.

There was nothing to separate Spain and Belgium in the group's other match as they finished all square.

Great Britain 2 also won again, beating Norway by one hole to strengthen their grip on top spot in Group D, while Sweden 1 were 5 and 4 winners against Sweden 3.

The all-French battle between Celine Herbin and Astrid Vayson de Pradenne of France 1 and France 2's Justine Dreher and Manon Molle ebbed and flowed before finishing all square to move both teams onto three points in Group B.

Sweden 2 beat Germany 1 3 and 2 in the other Group B encounter, while Great Britain 3's Meghan MacLaren and Michele Thomson were 5 and 3 winners against Austria and Finland's match with Iceland finished all square in Group C.

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