Stephen Gallacher (Getty Images)
An enthralling day of foursomes golf saw Great Britain & Ireland draw level with Continental Europe after three days of the Seve Trophy by Golf+ at Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche.
A point behind overnight, Sam Torrance’s side found themselves 8-6 behind after Continental Europe shaded the morning session.
But GB & I, winners of the last six stagings of this event, battled back superbly in the afternoon to take the session 3-1 and square the contest at 9-9 heading into Sunday’s ten singles rubbers.
Continental Europe Captain José María Olazábal insists he will try and use his side’s poor recent record in the event to get his players fired up for the final day, and remained upbeat about their chances despite letting the advantage slip for the first time this week.
“We lost the session and we played three days of golf, and looks like we start from scratch tomorrow,” said the Spaniard.
“What I have kept on saying all week long, is that we have to play the best we can. We have a very strong team facing us, and that we have to play good tomorrow.
“Obviously I want to win it badly, it’s as simple as that. I don't like that record at all and hopefully this group of ten people will be able to achieve that tomorrow.”
Torrance, on the other hand, will be delivering the simple message of “same again, please” after seeing his side haul themselves level.
He said: “They kept going. Paul Casey and David Lynn, they were two down most of the way around and they just kept fighting and won on 18, fantastic.”
Stephen Gallacher and Paul Lawrie led the way, taking a point and a half off Nicolas Colsaerts and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño to end their 100 per cent record.
The Scottish pair had fallen to a tournament record 6 and 5 defeat to the same pair in Friday’s fourballs, but in the single-ball format came back from three down in the morning session to snatch a half – both sides missing birdie putts for the tie on the final hole.
After lunch Gallacher and Lawrie raced into a three up lead – incredibly winning two holes on the front nine with bogeys.
Former Open Champion Lawrie put them four up with a six foot birdie putt at the 11th, and although the Europeans took the 13th and 15th to extend the contest, Gallacher’s tap-in birdie at penultimate hole secured a 2 and 1 victory.
“I'm not so sure it's revenge but it's obviously nice to win a point,” said Lawrie afterwards. “After getting a heavy defeat the first match against them we wanted to go back up against them so we managed to get a point back and we both played nicely.”
If Olazábal’s men do end a losing streak that goes back to 2000 they will owe much to Gregory Bourdy and Joost Luiten, who took their perfect record to four points from four.
They overcame Jamie Donaldson and Marc Warren 2 and 1 in the morning, before fending off Scott Jamieson and Chris Wood at the final hole in the afternoon session.
England’s Wood had chipped in from a bunker at the 17th to take the match down the final hole, but Jamieson’s tee shot their ended up in the trees as they failed to pressure their opponents.
Donaldson and Warren, however, responded well to their morning setback with a fine 2 and 1 victory over Thomas Björn and Mikko Ilonen.
Paul Casey had suffered a one hole loss with Tommy Fleetwood to Miguel Angel Jiménez and Matteo Manassero in the final match of the morning session, but gained revenge in the afternoon anchor match alongside David Lynn.
Jiménez had holed a 12 foot par putt at the last, but Lynn was able to hold his nerve and convert from ten feet to bring about a straight shootout in the Sunday singles.
“It's been so close all week; it could have gone either way,” said Casey. “It seems like we have been getting off to bad starts all week, and this session, looked like we were getting off to a good start and things went a bit pear shaped in the middle.
“For Lynnie to make that putt on the last and to be level going into singles is massive. I think we are looking forward to tomorrow - it's tough playing foursomes.”