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Continental Europe take two-point lead into final day of Hero Cup

Continental Europe take two-point lead into final day of Hero Cup

Francesco Molinari and Nicolai Højgaard proved a formidable foursomes partnership as they won both of their matches on Saturday to help Continental Europe open up an 8.5-6.5 lead over Great Britain & Ireland ahead of the final day of the Hero Cup.

The combination of youth and experience paid dividends for Continental Europe as 40-year-old captain Molinari and 21-year-old Højgaard beat Matt Wallace and Callum Shinkwin 3&1 in the morning session before seeing off Ewen Ferguson and Richard Mansell 2&1 in the afternoon's top match.

Molinari's side went into the afternoon with the one-shot lead they had built up in Friday's four-balls, after Saturday's first foursomes session saw both teams take 2.5 points each.

But the afternoon belonged to Continental Europe as they won three of the five matches, with GB&I taking the other two.

Molinari and Højgaard never fell behind as they closed out a comfortable win in the top match, extending their unbeaten run in the competition.

The Italian was full of praise for his partner, saying: "I'm super, super impressed. 

"It's been great to be out with him. We had lots of fun. Great attitude. Yeah, I couldn't be happier."

Close friends Wallace and Shinkwin finally got the point their phenomenal play has deserved as they overcame Antoine Rozner and Adrian Meronk 2&1 in Match Two, before GB&I Captain Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Smith beat Thomas Pieters and Alex Noren by the same scoreline to briefly draw their side level in the overall standings.

Wallace said: "These matches are so hard, we have been playing great. We actually played really nice golf this week and we have 1.5 points, so to get a win for the golf we've been playing is probably the least we could have got.

"It's so nice and to do it alongside my mate has been really good."

Fleetwood said: "It's great to get those juices flowing, team-mates watching, cheering us on. Overall, we played really well today again."

But Continental Europe won each of the bottom two matches to stretch their lead to two points.

Sepp Straka and Thomas Detry beat Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton by one hole courtesy of Detry's enormous putt on the 17th before Victor Perez and Guido Migliozzi fought off Séamus Power and Robert MacIntyre in the anchor match.

Speaking about his monster putt, Detry said: "We'd been waiting for that one, I think, since pretty much this morning.

"Making that one on the 17th really felt like it was getting close to sealing the deal. And a beautiful up-and-down from Sepp on the last one to win the match."

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