SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE, France (AP) — Britain & Ireland outplayed Continental Europe in Saturday’s greensomes and foursomes to take a commanding five-point lead in the Vivendi Seve Trophy, 11Ã‚Â½ to 6Ã‚Â½.
The defending champions won three and halved one of the four greensomes in the morning to lead 9-5 before taking 2Ã‚Â½ points out of four in the afternoon’s foursomes.
The tournament ends Sunday with 10 singles matches. Britain & Ireland need only 2Ã‚Â½ more points for victory because the defending champions keep the title in the event of a draw.
The late golfer Seve Ballesteros created the event, a biennial competition, to help Europeans get more match-play experience outside the Ryder Cup. Britain & Ireland have won the trophy five straight times after Continental Europe captured the inaugural event in 2000.
Second-ranked Lee Westwood and World Match Play champion Ian Poulter each won twice on Saturday to help Britain & Ireland open up a five-point gap after Continental Europe came within a point on Friday.
“Great turnaround, great reaction after what happened yesterday,” Britain & Ireland captain Paul McGinley told the European Tour website. “We didn’t panic. We kept things in perspective. We went out today with a very good attitude.”
In the greensomes, Jamie Donaldson and Simon Dyson beat Nicolas Colsaerts and Matteo Manassero 2 and 1 to give Britain & Ireland the first point. Poulter and Ross Fisher defeated Thomas Bjorn and Raphael Jacquelin 2 and 1, while Westwood and Scott Jamieson outclassed Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal 4 and 3.
Continental Europe’s Peter Hanson and Alexander Noren halved their match with Darren Clarke and David Horsey after Hanson birdied the last hole.
Britain & Ireland made the difference on the back nine. Westwood and Jamieson won six straight holes and were the only pairing leading at the turn while the other three matches were still all square.
In the foursomes, Bjorn and Anders Hansen beat Fisher and Mark Foster 3 and 2 to secure Continental Europe’s only victory on Saturday.
Robert Rock and Donaldson were 1 up before the last hole but Donaldson missed a 3-foot putt to split the point with Francesco Molinari and Manassero.
Jacquelin and Colsaerts combined for four bogeys to lose to Westwood and Horsey 4 and 3.
“Lee Westwood is just the dream player to have on your team,” McGinley said. “He’s got absolutely no ego whatsoever about who he plays with, what opposition he plays with, and any role that I give him, he’s happy to take on.”
Dyson chipped in for eagle on the 17th to earn with Poulter a 3 and 1 win over Larrazabal and Noren.