GB&I off to strong start in France

Great Britain & Ireland were leading in four of Thursday’s five opening-day fourball matches at the Vivendi Seve Trophy.

Great Britain & Ireland were leading early on in four of the five opening-day fourball matches at the Vivendi Seve Trophy at St-Nom-La-Bretèche in Paris.

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez was given the honour of hitting the first shot of the tournament in memory of his friend Seve Ballesteros, who sadly passed away earlier this year, but along with compatriot Pablo Larrazabal, Jiménez was unable to prevent in-form Simon Dyson and Welshman Jamie Donaldson from storming into a two-up lead with birdies at the first two holes.

Jiménez did birdie the fourth to leave Continental Europe only one down and after the first six holes of this, the opening match, the British pair remained in front with a narrow 1-up lead.

In the second game Ross Fisher and Scott Jamieson birdied the short third after both hit their tee shots to within ten feet – Fisher’s effort was plumb on line and actually bounced off the pin – to go one against Peter Hanson and Raphaël Jacquelin.

The Frenchman had levelled the contest with a birdie from five feet at the second, but neither he nor Swedish Ryder Cup star Hanson had an answer to the British pair’s stunning efforts at the next and by the 4th hole the British pair had widened the gap to 2-over.

And there was more early joy for Paul McGinley’s side at the par three third in game three as well.

World Number Two Lee Westwood birdied from five feet as he and compatriot Mark Foster moved one up on Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari.

David Horsey birdied the first to go one up with Open Champion Darren Clarke against the rookie pairing of Matteo Manassero and Nicolas Colsaerts, but in the last of the five games of the day the English pair of Robert Rock and Ian Poulter trailed the in-form Thomas Björn of Denmark and Sweden’s Alex Noren after their first two holes.

They were 1-up after two holes to bring some spark back to the Europeans who were now tailing Europe 4-1.

Hansen looked to have levelled game three when he chipped in from the bunker on the fourth for a birdie, but Westwood holed home a 20 footer to keep the visiting team in the lead at 4-1.

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