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Europe fight back on Friday
September 16, 2011

Continental Europe picked up 3 1/2 out of five points in Friday’s fourball matches to reduce Britain and Ireland’s lead to one point in the Vivendi Seve Trophy.

Britain and Ireland led 4-1 after Thursday’s fourballs, but Continental Europe won three matches and halved one on Friday to cut the margin to 5 1/2 to 4 1/2 heading into the weekend.

“Not as good as yesterday,” Britain and Ireland captain Paul McGinley said. “As I said to my team yesterday, we felt like we shot 62. Today we feel like we’ve shot 71.

“The continental team came back strongly against us today. Not unexpectedly. We weren’t strong enough or good enough today to hold off the challenge.”

Peter Hanson and Alexander Noren beat Englishmen Ian Poulter and Robert Rock 5 and 3 to give Continental Europe the first point.

Thomas Bjorn and Raphael Jacquelin halved their match with Simon Dyson and Jamie Donaldson.

Mark Foster and Lee Westwood defeated Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari 5 and 3 for Britain and Ireland’s only win.

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal beat Darren Clarke and David Horsey 3 and 2, while Nicolas Colsaerts and Matteo Manassero defeated Ross Fisher and Scott Jamieson by two holes.

“We’re still one behind, there’s nothing to be happy about,” Continental Europe captain Jean Van de Velde told the European Tour website. “I’m going to tell you what I’m very happy with: It is the fact that they delivered today. It’s not about winning or about losing. It’s about the intensity. It’s about what they brought in.”

Play continues with four greensomes and four foursomes on Saturday and 10 singles matches on Sunday.

Spanish golf great Seve Ballesteros created the event, a biennial competition, to help Europeans get more match-play experience outside the Ryder Cup.

Britain and Ireland have won the trophy five straight times after Continental Europe captured the inaugural event in 2000.

On Friday, Noren made a strong impression in his debut. He secured victory on the 15th hole by hitting an outstanding 2-iron approach shot, followed by an eagle putt.

Westwood was the key for Britain and Ireland’s win. The second-ranked Englishman made three birdies and an eagle.

Dyson and Donaldson had an opportunity to win their match on the last hole. Jacquelin and Bjorn both sent their tee shots into the rough and were forced to hit their second shots through the trees while Dyson and Donaldson managed to keep their balls on the fairway. But Donaldson then missed a birdie putt from two meters.

“We started well today but couldn’t capitalize,” Donaldson said. “We had chances but the putts didn’t drop. What can you do? It wasn’t quite meant to be.”


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