Great Britain and Ireland Open Four-Point Advantage


European TourThe Great Britain & Ireland team won three of four matches in Saturday morning's fourball matches to open a four-point lead over the Continental Europe team at 8-4 at the Seve Trophy.
Saturday morning's matches were contested in cold, rainy conditions and the pace of play was extremely slow, with the final match taking six hours to complete.
In the morning's featured match, European Ryder Cuppers from past and present went 17 holes before a winner was crowned. Continental Europe captain Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, the most successful European Ryder Cup team of all time, beat Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, both members of the 2002 Ryder Cup team, 2-and-1.
In Saturday morning's other matches, Paul Lawrie and Paul Casey from the Great Britain & Ireland team bested Thomas Bjorn and Niclas Fasth from the Continental European team, 2-and-1.
Colin Montgomerie, the team captain for Great Britain & Ireland, teamed with Ian Woosnam to defeat Robert Karlsson and Mathias Gronberg, 4-and-3.
The anchor match between Great Britain & Ireland's Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood and the Continental European's pair of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Raphael Jacquelin was the only match to reach the 18th green.
Jimenez squared the match after he chipped in for birdie at the par-3 17th but players once again struggled on the difficult final hole at Druids Glen Golf Club.
Jimenez landed in the first cut of rough off the tee and had no choice but to lay up short of the green at the par-4 hole. His ball landed in the right rough short of a lake guarding the putting surface. Jacquelin's metal-wood approach ended up in a left greenside bunker and he was never a factor in the hole after finding the sand.
Westwood was in the fairway but his metal-wood shot splashed in the water, effectively taking him out of the hole. Clarke, who bombed his drive considerably farther than his three playing partners, knocked a 3-iron to 10 feet.
Jimenez could not get up and down for par while Clarke two-putted for the par and the 1-up victory.
Ballesteros, the swashbuckling Spaniard for whom the competition is named, drained a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 14 to give the Continental Europe team a 2-up advantage.
Three holes later, the Spaniards held their 2-up lead when Ballesteros found the right, greenside bunker off the tee. Harrington nestled his tee ball five feet from the stick, looking to give the Great Britain & Ireland team a good chance of cutting the deficit.
Ballesteros, who has lost his form that made him one of golf's dominant figures in the '80s, had some magic left in him. He holed out from the bunker for birdie, which gave the team their only point of the morning session.
'It was a memorable day for both of us, playing together again and shooting 6-under-par for the back nine,' said Ballesteros. 'Playing with Jose, there is always the guarantee he is going to play well. It was a fantastic way to finish a special match.'
Olazabal was so impressed with his partner that he got on his knees and bowed in praise after the chip fell.
'It was a special day for both of us, just like the old days,' said Olazabal, who has an 11-2-2 record with Ballesteros as his partner at The Ryder Cup. 'It was really special for me, to watch him chip in from the bunker at the 17th. It was amazing and you don't get many days like that. Seve did what he's done so often in the past and I had to get down on my knees to applaud that shot. That's Seve!'
Montgomerie and Woosnam, who never played together in a Ryder Cup despite being on the same team four times, won the ninth hole before Woosnam ran home a seven-foot birdie at No. 10 to go 2-up.
Montgomerie holed an 18-foot putt for a win at No. 11 and the match was over after he birdied the 15th.
Casey dropped in a two-foot birdie at the 14th to go 1-up and Lawrie followed with a 15-foot birdie at the next hole to take a 2-up lead that would never be challenged.
Full scores from the Seve Trophy