Great Britain and Ireland drew first blood in the inaugural Eurobet Seve Ballesteros Trophy at Sunningdale as Colin Montgomerie’s team took the opening series of foursomes 3-1.
The key moment of the morning came in the third tie, in which Padraig Harrington and Phillip Price fought back from two down with four to play to beat Robert Karlsson and Thomas Bjorn on the final green, after the Dane missed a two foot putt for par.
Earlier, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke – the familiar Ryder Cup pairing – had got the Britain and Ireland side off to a fast start with a 4 and 3 victory over Alex Cejka and Bernhard Langer.
The English-Irish partnership was six under par for the 15 holes played, with skipper Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam were five under as they beat Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez 2 and 1.
The Continental side gained their first point of the match when Sergio Garcia and Jean Van de Velde overcame Open champion Paul Lawrie and Gary Orr 3 and 2.
Montgomerie said: “The last match on the course was very important. Phil and Padraig were not in front all day until the last hole and that’s the best place to get ahead. To be 3-1 up instead of 2-2 makes a big, big difference.”
Ballesteros commented : “It is very tight, as I expected. The foursomes matches just shwo that both teams are very closely matched. There was some unbelievable golf played and I was not surprised the public have come here in such large numbers. It confirms what I always knew – that the British fans are the best in the world.”