Great Britain and Ireland beats Continental Europe


SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE, France – Britain & Ireland held off a strong effort from Continental Europe in singles to retain the Vivendi Seve Trophy 151/2 to 121/2.

The defending champions had a commanding five-point lead heading into the final on Sunday. But Continental Europe won the first five singles to tie it at 111/2 points each.

It took narrow wins by Ian PoulterScott Jamieson and Mark Foster to clinch victory.

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

Thomas Bjorn beat Lee Westwood 2 and 1 to earn the first point and spur Continental Europe’s comeback. The European Masters winner made four birdies and capitalized on three bogeys from Westwood to rally from 3 down.

Continental Europe captured the Inaugural Event in 2000, but Britain & Ireland have since won the trophy six straight times.

Francesco Molinari outplayed Jamie Donaldson, 4 and 3. The Italian had a bogey-free day, sinking three birdies to add a second point for Continental Europe.

Anders Hansen edged Simon Dyson by a hole and was Continental Europe’s best player, winning three out of four points in the event.

Alexander Noren cruised to a 4 and 3 win over Robert Rock. The Swede was 5 up at the turn and protected its lead on the back nine despite two bogeys.

Miguel Angel Jimenez defeated Darren Clarke, 4 and 2, to tie the contest at 11 1/2. The Spanish veteran made the difference by winning four holes on the back nine as the match was still all square at the turn. British Open winner Clarke performed poorly, making five bogeys and a double.

Nicolas Colsaerts trailed by two but the Belgian birdied the 15th and holed an eagle on the 17th to halve his match with David Horsey.

Jamieson beat Pablo Larrazabal by a hole to give Britain & Ireland a 13-12 lead. Larrazabal had 3 bogeys and a double bogey to go 4 down after 10 holes and could not fully recover despite 3 birdies and an eagle on the back nine.

Poulter edged Matteo Manassero by a hole. The Italian teenager led until the 15th but Poulter birdied the last three holes to put Britain and Ireland in a 14-12 lead. The World Match Play champion was the best player for Britain & Ireland, earning four out of five points.

Foster birdied the 17th and parred the 18th to beat Raphael Jacquelin by a hole and secure victory for Britain & Ireland.

Peter Hanson halved his match with Ross Fisher to hand Continental Europe a 6-4 win in Sunday’s singles, but that was not enough to prevent Britain & Ireland from clinching the trophy.

Britain & Ireland entered the contest as underdogs as they were missing the top-ranked Luke Donald and the last two U.S. Open champions, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

All the players on the Continental Europe team were in the top 100, while Britain & Ireland had three players ranked outside the top 100 - Foster, Rock, and Jamieson.