Saint-nom-la-Breteche - Continental Europe have got the start they wanted in their bid to win the
Seve Trophy for the first time since 2000 when they dominated Thursday's
foursomes, taking a 3 1/2 to 1 1/2 lead over Great Britain and Ireland.
champions Great Britain and Ireland were first on the scoreboard thanks
to a rock-solid performance from Scottish duo Paul Lawrie and Stephen
Gallacher which gave them a 3 and 2 victory over Continental Europe's
strongest pairing of Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Spaniard Miguel Angel
Jimenez, as rain and cloudy weather made life difficult.
three birdies over the last three holes carried Sam Torrance's lead-off
pairing to victory, the Europeans struck back swiftly.
Jose Maria Olazabal looked on as Ryder Cup winner Nicolas Colsaerts and
debutant Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano thrashed the second Scottish pairing
of Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson, blowing the match wide open with four
straight birdies between them to win 5 and 3.
"The main thing is to win points and that's what we did. I think the team is really happy today," said a delighted Olazabal.
the rain finally gave way to bright sunshine towards the end of the
afternoon, Finland's Mikko Ilonen and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen nursed home a
one-hole lead by matching a gritty effort from English pairing Tommy
Fleetwood and Chris Wood and give Olazabal his team's second point on
the 18th green.
"Tommy Fleetwood, Chris Wood had a great comeback," said Torrance.
had a good chance on 17 feet, about ten feet and about an 8-footer on
the last. Unfortunately they didn't make either of them and lost one
down, but that could have turned either way.
"Four or five holes
to go, we were well down and it almost turned where we could have gone
3-2 ahead but that's golf," added the Scottish skipper who captained the
2002 Ryder Cup winning team.
The tension mounted with Europe
sensing a chance to take a strong lead into day two after being up on
the scorecard in the remaining two matches.
A titanic struggle
between Italian duo Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero and
England's Paul Casey and Simon Khan produced a series of birdies over
the final eight holes before the Britons took a one shot lead onto the
But a great approach shot to the picturesque final green
gave Molinari a birdie putt to draw level and the experienced Italian,
who is one of the few players to have a winning record for the
Europeans, sunk a 12-footer to share the point.
team took the day's final point when Bordeaux native Gregory Bourdy got
his Seve Trophy debut off to the perfect start by teaming up with
unflappable Dutchman Joost Luiten to win 2 and 1 against Welshman Jamie
Donaldson and David Lynn of England.
"I was really pleased with
the youngsters and I think Joost (Luiten) played extraordinarily well
and made a bunch of birdies (six)" continued Olazabal.
"Thorbjorn played also very well. I am happy for those two guys, I think it was a great experience for them."
Bourdy was also pleased with the result but said there remains room for improvement.
think we were a good pair today," said the Frenchman. "We started very
well and maybe that helped us to have some confidence for the rest of
"Unfortunately I didn't play my best on the back nine but
he made some amazing birdies, very strong and so maybe next time, it's
going to be my turn to help him a bit more at the end."
Europeans will take heart from an almost ideal start to their quest to
win the trophy for only the second time in eight attempts after winning
the maiden tournemant in 2000 when Seve Ballesteros captained a team
that included Olazabal.
Friday will feature five matches of
fourballs before a packed schedule on Saturday with both 10 matches on
tap, before the always dramatic final day of singles play.
Collated Seve Trophy scores from the first day of fouresomes between
Continental Europe and Great Britain & Ireland at the
Saint-Nom-la-Breteche golf club on Thursday:
Continental Europe: 3 1/2
Great Britain & Ireland: 1 1/2
Paul Lawrie (SCO)/Stephen Gallacher (SCO) bt Thomas Bjorn (DEN)/Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 3 and 2
Mikko Ilonen (FIN)/Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) bt Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)/Chris Wood (ENG) one hole
Francesco Molinari (ITA)/Matteo Manassero (ITA) v Paul Casey (ENG)/Simon Khan (ENG) halved
Gregory Bourdy (FRA)/Joost Luiten (NED) bt Jamie Donaldson (WAL)/David Lynn (ENG) 2 and 1
Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL)/Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (ESP) bt Marc Warren (SCO)/Scott Jamieson (SCO) 5 and 3