SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE – Great Britain and Ireland increased its lead over Continental Europe to 6-4 on Friday after the second round of fourball matches at the Vivendi Trophy, a match play event on the European Tour.
Britain and Ireland had a 3-2 lead overnight and kept up the pressure under clear skies at the Saint-Nom-la-Breteche Golf Club on the outskirts of Paris.
“We are underdogs and we know that we have to play incredibly well to win the trophy,” Britain and Ireland captain Paul McGinley said. “Today we knew that we had to play the same quality of golf that we did the first day and fortunately that’s what we did.”
Britain and Europe had a three-point lead before the last match, but a 1-up victory by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Robert Karlsson kept Continental Europe in the tournament. The pair wasted a two-shot lead against Robert Rock and Steve Webster on the back nine, but won when Rock bogeyed the last hole.
“It was a bit like yesterday, the match that we needed came through in the end,” Continental Europe captain Thomas Bjorn said. “But unlike yesterday, I feel encouraged by the signs I saw out there today. We obviously are not happy by trailing, but we don’t feel like we are out of it, that’s for sure.”
Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson gave Britain and Ireland its first point of the day by securing their second win in the tournament, beating Alvaro Quiros and Henrik Stenson 2 and 1.
“We played great today, we knew it was going to be a tough match,” Wilson said. “Dys got off to a great start and managed to keep the momentum and keep on top.”
Having recovered from food poisoning, Dyson opened with a birdie on the first hole. The pair went 2-up when Dyson birdied again on the fourth, but Quiros had an eagle on the sixth and a birdie on the ninth.
The English pair prevailed over the last nine holes with Wilson making a birdie on the 11th before Dyson had a birdie on the 15th.
Britain and Ireland then went up 5-2 after Nick Dougherty and Ross Fisher downed Peter Hanson and Soren Hansen 3 and 2. The duo was handed its second consecutive loss, while Fisher – whose eagle on the 16th closed out the match – and Dougherty bounced back following their opening-day defeat.
Continental Europe narrowed the gap when Italian Francesco Molinari and Dane Anders Hansen defeated Northern Ireland pair Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy 3 and 1. Impressive against Soren Kjeldsen and Quiros on the opening day, the Irishmen trailed by two shots after seven holes.
Anthony Wall and Chris Wood stayed one shot up against Miguel Angel Jimenez and Soren Kjeldsen until the 13th, but Wall then had two birdies for a 3-and-2 victory and a three-point lead going into the last match.
The Vivendi Trophy was created in 2000 and was formerly known as the Seve Trophy after Seve Ballesteros. Continental Europe won the inaugural event before Britain and Ireland won it four consecutive times.
Four greensomes, in which both players drive and hit alternate shots with the preferred tee shot, are set for Saturday morning. Then there are four foursomes on Saturday afternoon and 10 singles matches on Sunday.