The European Seniors Tour took a 3-2 lead over the Ladies European Tour (LET) Friday after winning two of the
opening day foursomes in the Praia D'El Rey Rover European Cup in Portugal.
John Morgan and partner Eddie Polland defeated Trish Johnson and Sandrine Mendiburu 4&2, while Neil Coles and Tommy Horton held off a spirited fight back by Lora Fairclough and Maria Hjorth to win by a solitary hole.
The LET's one victory came in the first foursome of the day, where Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas defeated the American duo Alan Tapie and Bill Brask by two holes.
"The Seniors were really good, they just wouldn't lie down and always came back at us," said Davies after securing a two-hole victory with a 12-foot birdie at the last.
"I really enjoyed it. Both pairs played some really good golf out there today - I think we were seven under and the Seniors five under. Ali and I always seem to play well together. We compliment each others games."
Tapie was also full of praise for his opponents and stressed that Davies' length off the tee was not the deciding factor in the outcome.
"It's a little bewildering to play so well and still lose," said Tapie, who finished ninth on the Seniors money list this season. "I was surprised and impressed at how well they played. We also played some great golf and I think we made only one mistake all day. Yes Laura was hitting the ball a long way off the tee but I don't think this determined
the result of the match."
With all but one of the matches coming down to the 18th, there was no shortage of drama on the opening day at Praia D'El Rey Golf & Country Club. France's Marie-Laure de Lorenzi played a captain's role as she holed out from 30 feet at the last to halve her match against Antonio Garrido and David Jones, while America's Ross Metherell nailed a similar putt to help salvage a draw against the Swedish duo Sophie Gustafson and Sofia
Gronberg-Whitmore. The LET might still have won the match but the unfortunate Gustafson saw her six foot birdie effort on 18 lip out.
"It was a tough match and the score was up and down all the way," said de Lorenzi, LET captain for the third consecutive year. "I made a good putt on 17 to halve the hole and was very pleased to sink the one on 18 to halve the match. I missed a few putts early on so it was nice to make amends."
At one stage Horton and Coles appeared to be running away in their foursome against Fairclough and Hjorth and were four ahead after 10 holes. But the LET pair fought back admirably with birdies at the 11th, 13th and 16th to close the gap to one with just one hole to play. Even at the last Fairclough had the chance to secure half a point, but was unable to hole a difficult 15-footer from just off the green.