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Welsh golfer James Ashfield wins European Nations Cup

22 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Welsh golfer James Ashfield has won the European Nations Cup in Sotogrande

Welsh golfer James Ashfield has won the European Nations Cup in Sotogrande, following in the footsteps of players such as Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.

Ashfield helped the Wales team to third place overall against the best amateur golfers in Europe, the best result for Wales since they won in 2017 with Jack Davidson also winning the individual title.

Ashfield shot an opening round of 67 to take an early lead and then a final round 69 to clinch victory by two shots from Scotland’s Gregor Graham, with Holland’s Lars van der Vight one shot further back.


Ireland won the team event with Switzerland in second just one shot behind, with Wales one further shot back.
The four man Wales team was Ashfield, Delamere Forest, Matt Roberts, Royal Porthcawl, Tom Bastow, Isle of Purbeck, and Tomi Bowen, Welshpool, with all the players contributing to the overall score.

Walker Cup and Bonallack Trophy player Ashfield had set winning events as a main target for this season, so upgrading last season’s third place in Sotogrande to first proved an early achievement of that ambition.

“I feel that has taken a lot of pressure of me, now that I have won one of the big European events. The winning feeling gives me a lot of confidence going forward and makes me want to win more,” he said.

“I achieved the target of winning an event a bit quicker than I thought, but my mentality coming into this event was the difference.

“The moment I made that putt on 18 it was a massive sense of relief, everyone was coming up to congratulate me.

“I was gutted the team did not win, but we performed really well to come third and it was very close, golf can be a game of inches sometimes.

“I have played in this event a few times now, so the experience helped, I came into it feeling a win was what I needed after finishing third last year.

“I knew I had a three shot lead with four to play, so I tried hard just to stay in the present thanks to the work I have done with psychologist Lee Cromblehome.

“Wales coach Neil Matthews was there and he helped me get over the line, while Gareth James has coached me for a long time and I feel we have been on a journey together, so I have to thank all those guys.

“I have a few good events coming up now, including the Welsh Open Stroke Play, so I can go into those events full of confidence.”

“A great win”

Ashfield has also won through to the last 16 of the Blackstar Golf Winter Matchplay Competition, the finals to be played at the Vale Resort next month with the winner getting invites to four Challenge Tour events.

The current Wales Golf Amateur Player of the Year was close to making the final cut in European Tour qualifying at the end of the last year, and turning professional is still the aim after another summer of amateur competition.

“Getting those invites to Challenge Tour events is a big incentive to try and win that Blackstar Golf, a big chance to learn a lot more about professional events and how people go about them,” he said.

Wales Golf Director of Performance and Pathway Gareth Jenkins added, “This is a great win for James and very good performance by the team who all contributed to coming third in Europe.

“It is a reward for the hard work put in by James and the coaching team around him, but it is always good to see a Welsh player lifting one of the main trophies in European amateur golf.

“It is a really good start to the summer for Wales players competing at home and away, hopefully something James can build on but also the other players in the Wales squads.”

The Welsh Open Stroke Play starts in Tenby on Wednesday, April 24, with a high standard of entrants.

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