Fairclough clinches battle of the sexes win

England's Lora Fairclough clinched the winning point as the Ladies' European Tour made it third time lucky against the Senior Men's Tour in the European Cup at Praia D'El Rey in Portugal.

England's Lora Fairclough clinched the winning point as the Ladies' European Tour made it third time lucky against the Senior Men's Tour in the European Cup at Praia D'El Rey in Portugal.

The men had won the inaugural contest and retained the trophy last year in a 10-10 draw.

But with Laura Davies making her first appearance the women always had an extra edge and six points from the 10 singles matches clinched the trophy by an 11-9 margin.

Davies, in the second match, claimed one of the vital wins on a day when the 18th hole proved lucky for the women.

In tough windy, wet and bitterly cold conditions Davies birdied the first two holes for an early lead but was pegged back and finally scraped her point with a winning par on the final green against American Jerry Bruner.

Minutes earlier Trish Johnson, four up at the turn, was forced to hole from 12 feet for birdie at the last to beat a dogged Ross Metherell at the last - and it set a trend.

Five of the singles reached the 18th all square, with the women winning three and the other two halved.

In the end the men's efforts to turn early deficits into late recoveries were deemed fruitless when Chorley's Fairclough closed out Antonio Garrido with a winning par at the last.

This gave her side an unassailable lead and the £10,000-per-player winners' cheques. The men got £5,000 each.

"It was a fun week and good for us to win," said women's captain Marie-Laure de Lorenzi.

"We need to let everyone know that we are good players and we have done it over these three days."

Men's captain Tommy Horton responded: "It was close all the way which proved that the officials got it about right (the women played a course around 10% shorter).

"They pushed us really hard and probably deserved to win. But we weren't disgraced."

Horton and de Lorenzi plus Swedish pair Sophie Gustafson and Sofia Gronberg Whitmore were all unbeaten, but John Morgan stood alone as the only player to win all three matches.

European Cup, Praia DÿEl Rey, Portugal:

Singles results (womenÿs names 1st):

T Johnson bt R Metherell one hole, L Davies bt J Bruner one hole A Nicholas lost to J Morgan 2 and 1, M Hjorth halved with B Brask R Carriedo lost to A Tapie one hole S Mendiburu lost to D Jones two holes L Fairclough bt A Garrido one hole S Gustafson bt N Coles 5 and 3 S Gronberg-Whitmore halved with T Horton M-L de Lorenzi bt E Polland 4 and 3 Result: Ladiesÿ European Tour 6 Senior Menÿs Tour 4.

Overall score: Ladiesÿ European Tour 11 Senior Menÿs Tour 9.

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