Holland held their nerve on Portugal’s Algarve to win The PGAs of Europe International Team Championship and end a 22-year ITC drought.
In doing so, and having finished joint second last year, the Dutch trio of Ralph Miller, Robin Swane and Nicolas Nube turned the tables on Scotland at the Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort.
Twelve months ago Holland had trailed the Scots by nine strokes – this time they finished two ahead of them to claim the €6,000 first prize.
But, as that victory margin suggests, it was a close run thing. And not just the battle between them.
With three strokes spanning the top five teams, the result remained in doubt until Swane negotiated the par four final hole of the Alvor course in regulation to clinch victory and ensure his nation’s name was inscribed on the trophy for the first time since 1991.
For Swane, the Dutch captain, and his teammates this triumph was a first, however. Furthermore it reflected the growing standard of golf among his compatriots.
“The three members of the team are all Dutch-born players,” he said. “That wasn’t the case before when we were represented by overseas players.”
All three players performed well but it was Miller that was Holland’s ace in the pack. Having broken the course record in the third round by posting an eight-under-par 64, the Dutch pro, who has an American father and Dutch mother, followed up with a three-under-par 69.
That coupled with Swane’s two-over was sufficient for the Dutch to maintain the two-stroke lead they held at the start of the final round of the tournament which was supported by Glenmuir, the Associaçäo Turismo do Algarve and Ryder Cup European Development Trust.
Miller’s round also ensured he finished level with Scotland’s Graham Fox as the tournament’s leading individual on two-under-par for the four rounds.
Completing the trio of players from the 26 teams who were under par for the tournament was Sweden’s Magnus Atlevi who signed off with a 69 to finish on one-under.
For others, however, the event was very much a case of what might have been, especially the Irish.
Needing to par the last to force a play-off, Brendan McGovern posted a triple bogey seven. Even more punitive was the 10 John Kelly racked up at the fifth en route to a one-over-par 73. For once the luck of the Irish was conspicuous by its absence.
Leading scores (after fourth and final round): Holland +3; Scotland +5; Denmark, Wales and Ireland +6; Italy +9; Sweden +11.
The 2013 Annual Congress & ITC are supported by Glenmuir, the Associação Turismo do Algarve, Hotel Vila Galé Lagos, Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort, and the European Ryder Cup Development Trust. For more information on our partners, visit http://eur.pe/1aaFFgx.