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Saturday, 11 August 2018
Iceland pose with their gold medals  (Getty Images)
Iceland pose with their gold medals (Getty Images)

Iceland powered to European Golf Team Championships gold in the Mixed Team event after finishing the innovative foursomes stroke play competition with a flourish on Saturday.

After Valdis Thora Jonsdottir and Birgir Hafthorsson had closed their round with three straight birdies to sign for a superb 70, their team-mates Axel Boasson and Olafia Kristinsdottir took advantage of the long 16th on their way to a 71.

Their combined three-under-par total saw them finish this one-day contest at the top of the leaderboard, one stroke clear of Great Britain 3 quartet Meghan MacLaren, Liam Johnston, Connor Syme and Michele Thomson in the silver medal position.

Sweden 2 secured the bronze medal after beating Spain at the first play-off hole courtesy of a lengthy birdie putt from Johanna Gustavsson.

Iceland started brightly, opening up a two-shot lead in the early stages, but they found themselves four shots off the pace set by Spain after Boasson and Kristinsdottir followed up four straight birdies from the second with three bogeys in their next five holes and Jonsdottir and Hafthorsson carded back-to-back bogeys at the 14th and 15th.

But, with the lead changing hands throughout the afternoon, both pairs rallied in the closing stages, with Jonsdottir and Hafthorsson making a birdie at the long 16th and tapping in from eight feet at the par-three 17th before Jonsdottir holed a monster birdie putt from the bottom of the slope just off the 18th green. 

And Boasson and Kristinsdottir sank their birdie putt at the par-five 16th to take Iceland to three under overall.

Jonsdottir said: "Hopefully our victory will encourage kids to pick up golf.

"Hopefully the news back in Iceland will give us some exposure and show how well we played today."

Hafthorsson said: "It's an awesome feeling."

Hafthorsson and Boasson have the chance to pick up another gold medal in the Men's Team event on Sunday. They will take on Spain 2 in the semi-finals in the morning.

Great Britain 3's pairs also finished strongly on Saturday, with Thomson and Syme making back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th to set the clubhouse target after MacLaren and Johnston had fired a birdie at the 16th.

Thomson said: "We’re obviously delighted. We set out at the start of the week to win a medal and we’ve got one, so we’re delighted."

"Hopefully this event will happen again. I'd love to see the men and women play more together and I really enjoyed playing with Connor today."

Scotsman Johnston said: "To win a medal in front of a home crowd is great. The support has been great all week."

With both Sweden 2 and Spain finishing on one under, the lowest scoring pair from each side returned to the first tee for a play-off.

And after Oscar Floren had found the edge of the green with his approach shot, Gustavsson knocked in her 30-foot birdie attempt to pile the pressure on Noemi Jimenez.

Jimenez came agonisingly close to holing her third shot but it did not drop and the Swedish quartet of Gustavsson, Floren, Daniel Jennevret and Julia Engstrom claimed bronze.

Jennevret was delighted to win a medal. He said: "I can’t describe my feelings, I’m lost for words, it’s so cool.

"Representing your country is always one of the best things you can do in your career and then winning a medal for your country feels unbelievable."

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