The spoils were shared during the opening series of greensomes for the 2002 Seve Trophy as an enthralling morning finished with Continental Europe, the defending champions, level with Great Britain and Ireland with two points apiece.
In the final match the French pair of Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin fought their way back from two down against Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke to win 2 and 1 and secure a valuable point to level the scores.
Thomas Björn and Robert Karlsson made a spectacular start for Continental Europe in the opening match by racing to the turn in 29 strokes to move four up on Paul Lawrie and the Great Britain and Ireland Captain Colin Montgomerie. Despite a spirited fightback, there was no way back from there for the Scottish pair, partners in the 1999 Ryder Cup and they were eventually defeated 2 and 1.
Ian Woosnam and rookie Steve Webster were impressive in their victory over the Spanish duo of Jos Maria Olazbal and Miguel Angel Jiménez. After halving the first eight holes, the British pair birdied the next four holes to race to four up before closing the match out 3 and 2.
The Irish partnership of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, winners of the 1997 World Cup, managed to hold off the challenge of Alex Cejka and Mathias Grönberg with victory on the final green. The European were two down at the turn but levelled the match with back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes before McGinley hit a magnificent five wood on to the green on the 13th to edge ahead again and from there they held on for victory, Harrington holing a crucial ten foot putt on the last.
Seve Ballesteros said: “It was looking like 3-1 to Great Britain and Ireland at one point, but the Frenchmen made a fantastic comeback. It’s great. We are level at 2-2 and it was very good for Thomas and Raphael to get their first point in this match. I think it is incredible to be two down and win 2 and 1 as they did. A fantastic comeback by them.”
Colin Montgomerie commented: “Darren and Lee are obviously disappointed to say the least. It’s always annoying when you feel you have given away a match as opposed to them actually winning it. That’s the most disappointing thing.
“Padraig holed a great putt at the last to win their match, which was important. Thomas and Robert were out in 29 against us so that was hard work. But two all, and this is what we expected. It was 8-8 going into the singles last time and it is shaping up like another close contest and a good weekend, which is all we want.”