England & Scotland through to quarters in inaugural event
England duo Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood had to battle to reach the quarter-finals of the inaugural Golf Sixes event in St Albans.
Sullivan admitted he and Wood had “dodged a bullet” after draws with India and Denmark before an emphatic victory against the Netherlands to guarantee their progress.
“We left ourselves work to do, but got the job done,” Sullivan said.
Scotland pair Marc Warren and Richie Ramsay also progressed to the quarters.
Players were wearing microphones and were encouraged to interact with spectators throughout the event.
The players had emerged through a cloud of smoke, waving their national flags, as they were introduced on the first tee and Sullivan made an even more enthusiastic entrance, chest-bumping with the event mascot.
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“I know we’re having a good time out there, but you still want to represent your country well. We’re both pretty patriotic and when we go out there we want to do the job,” he added.
“I really enjoy letting myself go and having a good time.
“The atmosphere from the start has been brilliant, and there has been a lot of home support which is great for us. Hopefully that can push us on tomorrow and I think this can really be something big in the future for golf.
“You won’t get away from the traditional 72-hole [events], but I think a few more events like this could really transform golf.”
England will face Italy – represented by Matteo Manassero and Renato Paratore – in the last eight, with Scotland taking on Portugal after both sides qualified with a game to spare by winning their first two matches.
With a point awarded for each hole won in the six-hole contest, Scotland beat Belgium 3-2 thanks to an eagle on the last, with Warren and Ramsay then producing another eagle and three birdies to defeat Spain by the same score.
“We were in the Group of Death and knew we would have to play well to finish in the top two,” Warren said.
“To qualify before our final game was definitely a bonus.”
In the other quarter-finals Thailand will face Australia with Denmark taking on France.
Wales were eliminated after two defeats and a draw in the group won by Australia.