Britain and Ireland take command
A rampant Great Britain and Ireland have charged into a huge lead over Continental Europe in the Vivendi Trophy.
Paul McGinley achieved just about everything he must have been hoping for in Paris on Saturday – off the course as well as on it.
McGinley, on the winning side every time he played the Ryder Cup and Seve Trophy, looks set to continue that as a captain after his Britain and Ireland team charged into a massive 12 1/2 to 5 1/2 lead over Continental Europe.
Only the 10 singles are to come in what is now called the Vivendi Trophy and the holders, even without six stars, need just two points for a fifth successive win.
Off the course, meanwhile, Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie sang the praises of the Dubliner and confirmed he wants him as one of “at least four” assistants at Celtic Manor next year.
“He’s taken to this like a fish to water. Incredible,” said Montgomerie.
“His team meetings have been exceptional. He’s worked as a psychologist as well and I’ve been very impressed with him.”
He wants Continental captain Thomas Bjorn alongside him too – this all presumes they do not qualify for the team – regardless of how much of a drubbing the pre-event favourites have been given so far at St Nom-la-Breteche.
Ahead 6-4 overnight, Britain and Ireland totally dominated the day even though Anthony Wall, a winner of his first two games, could not play all day because of shoulder trouble and Simon Dyson needed an afternoon rest after the food poisoning that kept him in bed on Wednesday left him feeling weak again.
Twenty-year-old Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell led off both greensomes and foursomes and won both to take their personal tallies to three points out of four.
First they beat Swedes Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson 2&1, then it was Dane Soren Hansen and Soren Kjeldsen by the same margin.
“We really fed off each other, it was a great day’s work and we couldn’t be happier,” said McIlroy, also praised to skies by Montgomerie.
“We’ve got a great captain. He’s been fantastic and has never left us in the dark.
“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.”
World number five Stenson is the top-ranked player on either side and he looked like suffering a fourth successive defeat until he and Hanson won the last three holes to halve with Nick Dougherty and Steve Webster.
A 25-footer from Stenson on the last was badly needed, but then 21-year-old Chris Wood had already made it four wins out of four in the game behind.
After twice being successful with Wall he linked up with Ross Fisher and they recorded a double over Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari.
The first was only because of a huge stroke of luck, though.
One up on the last, Wood went in the pond on the right and Fisher was heading for more water out of bounds behind the green.
But his ball stopped by a railing, they were able to go to the drop zone and got down in two more.
Dyson and Oliver Wilson lost their 100% record just before lunch when they bogeyed the last to lose to Alvaro Quiros and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The Spanish pair were kept together for the foursomes, but Continental Europe were left needing a miracle when they lost on the last to Wilson and Robert Rock, who had been drafted in to replace the ailing Dyson.
ALL OF SATURDAY’S RESULTS
(Continental Europe names first)
Soren Hansen and Soren Kjeldsen lost to McIlroy and McDowell 2 & 1
Stenson and Hanson halved with Dougherty and Steve Webster
A Hansen and Molinari lost to Fisher and Wood 3 & 2
Alvaro Quiros & Miguel-Angel Jimenez lost to Robert Rock & Oliver Wilson 1 hole
Foursomes result: Continental Europe ½, Britain and Ireland 3½
Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson lost to Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell 2 & 1
Robert Karlsson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano lost to Robert Rock and Nick Dougherty 5 & 4
Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari lost to Ross Fisher and Chris Wood 1 hole
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Alvaro Quiros bt Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson 1 hole
Greensomes result: Continental Europe 1 Britain and Ireland 3
Match position: Continental Europe 5, Britain and Ireland 12½
SUNDAY’S SINGLES DRAW
(GB and Ire names first; all times BST):
11:16 Rory McIlroy v Henrik Stenson
11:28 Graeme McDowell v Robert Karlsson
11:40 Anthony Wall v Alvaro Quiros
11:52 Ross Fisher v Miguel Angel Jimenez
12:04 Steve Webster v Soren Hansen
12:16 Simon Dyson v Soren Kjeldsen
12:28 Robert Rock v Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
12:40 Nick Dougherty v Anders Hansen
12:52 Chris Wood v Peter Hanson
13:04 Oliver Wilson v Francesco Molinari
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