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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > The Vivendi Trophy > Round 4


GB&I gain fifth straight Seve Trophy

Britain and Ireland won their fifth successive Seve Trophy on Sunday with Continental Europe’s fightback proving in vain.

In an absorbing finale, Paul McGinley’s team took the match 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 but lost the singles 6-4 to Thomas Bjorn’s continentals.

After dominating the first three days, Britain and Ireland needed only two wins from the 10 singles. When Anthony Wall pulled out suffering an injured shoulder and shared a point with Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, it was only one and a half points.

The trophy was secured in the first two matches when Rory McIlroy edged a pulsating match with world number five Henrik Stenson of Sweden by one hole and Graeme McDowell took care of last year’s European number one Robert Karlsson of Sweden 3 & 2.

In the first match, McIlroy collected an eagle and five birdies to Stenson’s eagle and four birdies but it was a double-bogey by the Swede on the penultimate hole that handed the match to the Briton.

Both players smashed into trees on the 17th but Stenson then hit his second shot into the heavy rough, to allow his 20-year-old opponent to go ahead. Both made pars at the 18th, McIlroy sinking a nervy four-footer for the win.

“I’d be lying if I said my hands weren’t a little shaky over the putt on the last,” McIlroy told reporters. “It was a great result for the team because of what was happening behind and good to put the point on the board.”

Stenson, admitted to “fighting my swing all week” but paid tribute to McIlroy.

“He just keeps improving and I fully expect him to be in the Ryder Cup squad next year,” Stenson told reporters. “In fact, when he holed a 30-footer I told him I wouldn’t mind playing with him next October if he keeps rolling them in like that.”

McDowell was never behind against Karlsson, who was playing his first tournament for nearly five months after retinal problems. Although Karlsson got it back to only one down after 14, errors by the Swede cost him any chance of recovering the deficit.

Continental Europe were in the ascendency during McDowell and McIlroy’s matches and were winning all the remaining ties before running out of steam.

“The more blue (of the continentals) I saw on the board I thought ‘this is going to be more important than we thought, let’s get the job done’,” McDowell told reporters.

“And thankfully I did.”

Bjorn had instructed his team to “play for your pride” and they responded determinedly, none more so than Dane Anders Hansen. The former European PGA champion ran up a staggering 10 birdies in 12 holes to crush Englishman Nick Dougherty 7 & 6.

Englishman Robert Rock earned the only other Britain and Ireland point by defeating Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano by one hole. Chris Wood of England, with the week’s best record of 4 1/2 points, gained a half with Swede Peter Hanson.

Seve Ballesteros, the five-times major champion who created the contest, currently recovering from brain tumour surgery, was unable to make the closing ceremony but congratulated the teams via a television broadcast.

“I just finished my radiotherapy. Hopefully I should be okay in about one month,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing you on the seventh edition of the Seve Trophy in two years’ time.”


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