McGinley’s men stretch their lead
Britain and Ireland had the better of things for the second day running and now lead Continental Europe 6-4 in Paris.
Britain and Ireland had the better of things for the second day running and now lead Continental Europe 6-4 in the Vivendi Trophy match being played in Paris.
Paul McGinley’s side, made underdogs before the start because six of their top players dropped out, are heading for a fifth successive victory in what used to be called the Seve Trophy.
Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson had their second win – and fourth in five games since first being paired together two years ago – when they beat Henrik Stenson and Alvaro Quiros 2&1.
It was brilliant stuff from all four players. A birdie two on the last would have given the English pair a 12-under-par 59 and their opponents were nine under when it finished.
On Wednesday morning, Dyson was actually a doubtful starter for the match after contracting food poisoning, but he has been one of the stars of the show so far.
“I was on death’s door,” said the Yorkshire player, who had only a slice of toast all day after being advised to stay in bed.
“I was not 100% yesterday but today was good and we are gelling fantastically well. Paul asked who was my ideal partner and I said Ollie straightaway.”
Ryder Cupper Wilson, so down in the dumps about his game earlier this month that he pulled out of an event in Germany, commented: “It’s still not great but these weeks are different.
“You go with what you’ve got and with a partner there’s not quite so much pressure.”
Chris Wood and Anthony Wall, both of whom were drafted in because of the withdrawals, are also unbeaten, this time overcoming Miguel Angel Jimenez and Soren Kjeldsen 3&2.
That lacked the fireworks of their first-day drubbing of Stenson and Robert Karlsson but Wall sealed the win with a long bunker shot Nick Dougherty described as “unbelievable”.
By then Dougherty and Ross Fisher had hit back from their first-day loss to beat Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson 3&2.
That match was closed out in style as well when Fisher curled in a 25-footer for an eagle on the 541-yard 16th to move them to nine under.
Dougherty commented: “I’ve not played very well so far, but Ross played some great stuff today and I chipped in here and there.”
That was literally the case on the short 12th, an important shot from just off the green that took them two up.
Continental captain Thomas Bjorn had kept Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari together and that paid off when their second victory came by a 3&1 margin against highly-rated Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
What might be a Ryder Cup partnership next October – they certainly hope so – were behind from the moment McDowell missed from eight feet at the first and Italian Molinari holed from seven.
Still one down after 10, the Northern Ireland duo then almost criminally bogeyed the next two holes – there were only three others all day.
Their failure to retrieve the situation made it 5-3 and, with Wall and Wood getting the next point, there was a good chance the overall match position would be even healthier for Britain and Ireland overnight.
Steve Webster and Robert Rock were all square with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Karlsson on the final tee but both found sand and could not get up and down.
In terms of points at stake, the contest is not yet at the halfway stage.
Like the Ryder Cup, 28 are to play for in all. Tomorrow sees four greensomes and four foursomes and Sunday brings 10 singles.
The format allows Bjorn now to rest his fellow Dane Kjeldsen, another food poisoning sufferer.
“He struggled and that’s a shame for him because he’s been looking forward to it for such a long time,” said Bjorn.
“We had to get a referee to stay with him and take him off in a buggy to a toilet when he needed to go.”
World number five Stenson, the highest-ranked player taking part, has lost both his games, but Bjorn added: “He played really well today but didn’t get a point. That can happen.
“I didn’t want his head to drop and he feels happy with how he is right now.”
In the meantime, despite their lead, Paul McGinley still believes Britain and Ireland will have to play “unbelievably well” to win this event for a fifth time in a row.
Continental Europe trail 6-4, but there are still 18 points to play for and McGinley does not argue that his side were underdogs coming into the match.
“It’s quite obvious – just look at the quality of their team and how far down the Order of Merit they had to go compared to us,” he said.
“They have four current Ryder Cup players (compared to two) and we’re up against it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t win.”
ALL THE SECOND DAY SCORES
(Fourballs – Continental Europe names first ):
Henrik Stenson/Alvaro Quiros lost to Simon Dyson/Oliver Wilson 2 & 1
Peter Hanson/Soren Hansen lost to Nick Dougherty/Ross Fisher 3 & 2
Anders Hansen/Francesco Molinari bt Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroy 3 & 1
Gonzalo F-Castano / Robert Karlsson bt Robert Rock / Steve Webster 1-up
Miguel Angel Jimenez/Soren Kjeldsen lost to Anthony Wall/Chris Wood 3&2
Second round result: Great Britain & Ireland lead Continental Europe 3-2
Total after two days: Great Britain & Ireland lead Continental Europe 6-4
Draw and tee-off times for Saturday morning’s greensomes at St-Nom la Breteche in Paris, France (Continental Europe names first)
0735 Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson v Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell
0750 Robert Karlsson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano v Robert Rock and Nick Dougherty
0805 Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari v Ross Fisher and Chris Wood
0820 Miguel Angel jimenez and Alvaro Quiros v Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson
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