SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE – Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell ran their record to 3-1 as Great Britain & Ireland took a commanding seven-point lead Saturday at The Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros.
The talented duo won two more matches – both by 2-and-1 scores – to move their team within two points of capturing the Ryder Cup-style event for a fifth consecutive time.
'We really fed off each other. It was a great day's work and we couldn't be happier,' said McIlroy.
Great Britain and Ireland, captained by Paul McGinley, will carry a 12 1/2 - 5 1/2 lead over Continental Europe into Sunday's singles matches. It will need to win just two of the 10 matches to retain the trophy.
'We've got a great captain. He's been fantastic and has never left us in the dark,' said McIlroy. 'He's got a lot of good ideas about team golf and has put some of that into practice, so I think a lot of the credit has to go to him.'
McIlroy and McDowell, both top-50 golfers, dispatched world No. 5 Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson in the first match of the morning greensomes. Great Britain & Ireland, which carried a 6-4 lead into Saturday, won three of the four morning matches to extend its lead to 9-5.
Also winning were Nick Dougherty and Robert Rock, who cruised to a 5-and-4 victory over Robert Karlsson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano; and Ross Fisher and Chris Wood, who edged Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari 1-up.
Continental Europe picked up its only full point Saturday when Miguel Angel Jimenez and Alvaro Quiros upended Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson, 1-up, in the morning.
It got a half-point in the afternoon when Stenson and Hanson halved their foursomes match with Dougherty and Steve Webster.
But all the other foursomes matches were won by Great Britain & Ireland – McIlroy and McDowell over Soren Hansen and Soren Kjeldsen; Fisher and Wood in a 3-and-2 victory over Anders Hansen and Molinari; and Rock and Wilson with a 1- up triumph over Quiros and Jimenez.
Great Britain & Ireland has won every Vivendi Trophy – former called the Seven Trophy – since Continental Europe captured the inaugural event in 2000.