Great Britain and Ireland drew first blood in the second Seve Trophy when they edged into a 5-3 lead over Continental Europe at Druids Glen Golf Club, Co Wicklow. Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley spearheaded the GB & I charge with two wins out of two for Colin Montgomerie’s team.
Montgomerie himself contributed one point out of a possible two as GB & I worked hard to turn the screw on the Continental side captained by Seve Ballesteros. The home side shared the first session of greensomes 2-2 but took a devisive 3-1 advantage in the foursomes to establish their two point lead at the end of day one.
Montgomerie said: “It was a good day to finish 5-3 ahead. I would have taken any lead. The morning was very tense for everyone and I am glad I have played every player now. We go to bed in good shape.”
Earlier in the week Ballesteros had identified the three Irish players in the side as a potentially damaging threat to his dreams of retain the trophy named after him. His hunch prove correct as Harrington and McGinley gathered two points – winning on the final green on each occasion – and Darren Clarke shrugged off a sore knee to pick up a point in tandem with Lee Westwood.
Harrington and McGinley defeated Mathias Grönberg and Alex Cejka in the greensome then took the scalp of the French pair, Raphael Jacquelin and Thomas Levet, in the afternoon foursome.
McGinley, one of the rookies in the GB & I side, said: “It was a good day for us and nice to win two matches which were so tight. We chiselled out two good wins today and we are obviously very pleased.”
Harrington added: “We have been playing together for 12 years and we know each other. We can take the pressure off each other and I think if we show this amount of form we will be partners in the Ryder Cup.”
Ballesteros, who plays with his old Ryder Cup sparring partner, José Maria Olazábal , in the Saturday fourballs, was disappointed but not downcast after finding his side two points in arrears after the first day.
“We are two points behind but there are still 18 to play for, so a long way to go. Obviously I would like to be in front instead of behind, but the British and Irish team played fantastic. There is nothing you can do against great playing.
“But, as I say, there is still a long way to go. We can get it back We are not too far back and two points is certainly not too much to make up.”