Good start for Great Britain and Ireland

17/09/2011 08:26:45
Simon Dyson  (Getty Images)
Simon Dyson (Getty Images)
The momentum swung back in Great Britain & Ireland’s direction during the early stages of Saturday’s greensomes session at the Vivendi Seve Trophy.

Paul McGinley’s side may have led 5 ½-4 ½ overnight, but Continental Europe had enjoyed an excellent day on Friday to reduce a 4-1 deficit.

Winners of the last five stagings of the event, Great Britain & Ireland had Simon Dyson and Jamie Donaldson lead out for the third day running, and they were one up on rookie pairing Matteo Manassero and Nicolas Colsaerts.

Spectators arriving early at St-Nom-La-Bretèche were treated to some fantastic golf, Dyson and Manassero both holing birdie putts from inside ten feet at the first.

There was a let off for Continental Europe at the second – Manassero missing from ten feet only for Dyson to do the same from half the distance.

But the Englishman, the winner of last week’s KLM Open, made amends at the next to convert Donaldson’s excellent tee shot to the par three.

In the second match out David Horsey, again partnering Open Champion Darren Clarke, holed 20 foot birdie putts on the first two greens.

Peter Hanson cancelled out the first with a five foot conversion following a brilliant approach by Alex Noren, but there was no reply at the second as Great Britain & Ireland went one up.

Dyson and Donaldson went two up at the fourth when their opponents bogeyed, Manassero unable to convert a ten foot clutch putt from the edge of the green.

Swedish pair Hanson and Noren – impressive 5 and 3 winners over Ian Poulter and Robert Rock in Friday’s fourballs – found themselves two down when, like Continental Europe’s opening pair, they bogeyed the fourth.

In the third match out Poulter, joined by Ryder Cup and World Cup partner Ross Fisher, went one up on Thomas Björn and Raphaël Jacquelin with a birdie at the second.

Jean Van de Velde did have one of his pairings ahead though, Pablo Larrazabal and Miguel Angel Jiménez birdieing the second to go one up on Lee Westwood and Scott Jamieson.

That lead did not last long – Both Spaniards drove into trees at the fourth, although on opposite sides of the fairway – and Jamieson took full advantage of Westwood’s tee shot down the middle with an approach to within a foot.

In the top game Colsaerts holed birdie putts at the seventh and eighth, and although the first halved the deficit, Donaldson was equal to his 20 foot effort at the latter to keep Great Britain & Ireland one up.

Colsaerts and Manassero did level the contest with a third consecutive birdie at the ninth, and the third game was all square as well, Björn and Jacquelin winning the fifth and sixth to go one up only for a perfect Poulter pitch to a foot at the next to level matters.

In the bottom game Jamieson and Westwood went one up when Jiménez missed a six foot par putt at the fifth.

And that lead was doubled at the next when the Spaniards ran up a third consecutive bogey and Westwood calmly converted a four foot par putt.

That was the only game not all square, though, as Noren and Hanson birdied the eighth and the ninth to erase their deficit before the turn.

Jamieson’s eight foot birdie putt put Great Britain & Ireland three up after seven in the last game out, and Horsey and Clarke were level for just one hole as they birdied the tenth to go one up again.