After last week’s Walker Cup success, Great Britain and Ireland have continued their excellent run in elite team events with a victory over Europe in the Seve Trophy. GB&I triumphed by 15.5 points to 12.5 at Saint-Nom-La-Breteche in France.
Paul McGinley’s men took a five point lead into the final day singles but a superb fight back by the continental players meant the tournament went right down to the wire.
In the top game Lee Westwood looked like he would cruise to victory over Thomas Bjorn. The Englishman opened with a birdie, holed a long putt for another at the 3rd then hit his approach within inches of the hole on the 5th to go three up. But the Dane fought back and Westwood began to make mistakes. Bjorn took the lead with a birdie on the 14th then sealed the victory when the World Number 2 duffed a chip on the 17th.
“Lee came out this morning and was sensational the first few holes,” said Björn. “It was just a case of hanging on and hanging on, but a couple of mistakes and it let me back in. I played some nice stuff near the end but it was a hard-fought battle.”
Then followed a barrage of victories for the European side. Anders Hansen won a tough match against Simon Dyson one-up, Francesco Molinari had little trouble dispatching Jamie Donaldson by 4 and 3 and it was a similar story as Alex Noren saw off Robert Rock by the same score. Open champion Darren Clarke was then beaten 4 and 2 by an inspired Miguel Angel Jimenez to leave the overall match tied at 11.5 points each.
The Europeans hadn’t won the Seve Trophy since they took the title the first time it was contested in 2000, and the dream of the a second victory was kept alive by Nicolas Colsaerts as the young Belgian secured a half against David Horsey.
But the GB&I tail had a decent wag in it and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson steadied the ship with an excellent win over Pablo Larrazabal. Then, when former Accenture Match Play champion Ian Poulter claimed a gritty one-up win over Matteo Manassero, the GB&I side needed just half a point to ensure victory over Jean Van-de-Velde’s men.
Mark Foster sealed things as he went one-up on Raphael Jacquelin with one hole to play and he held on for the win. Ross Fisher halved with Peter Hanson to give an overall match score of 15.5-12.5.
“I get a huge sense of satisfaction seeing someone like Scott Jamieson or David Horsey coming though the way they did,” said GB&I captain Paul McGinley. “Mark Foster as well, it was pivotal that his game stayed one up, that it stayed in the red or it stayed in the green and it never got into the blue, and he did that. And of course Ross Fisher was a rock at the end.”
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