The showdown for the 2013 Seve Trophy coincides with the Presidents Cup, but there is still plenty of significance behind the competition played in honor of the late, legendary Seve Ballesteros.
This match-play event gives European players a buzz in the gap year between Ryder Cups. Although some of the more elite players on that side of the Atlantic aren't teeing it up this week, a number of notable stars are in action.
On Thursday, Continental Europe jumped out to a commanding 3.5 to 1.5 lead over the opposing team consisting of golfers from Great Britain and Ireland.
Below is a look at the full results from the first day, followed by analysis as to how the action unfolded and what looms on the horizon at Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Breteche in Paris, France.
Note: Statistics and information are courtesy of EuropeanTour.com.
|Result||Continental Europe||Great Britain & Ireland|
|GBI, 3&2||Thomas Bjorn & Miguel Angel Jimenez||Paul Lawrie & Stephen Gallacher|
|CE, 1 Up||Mikko Ilonen & Thorbjorn Olesen||Tommy Fleetwood & Chris Wood|
|Halved||Francesco Molinari & Matteo Manassero||Paul Casey & Simon Khan|
|CE, 2&1||Joost Luiten & Gregory Bourdy||Jamie Donaldson & David Lynn|
|CE, 5&3||Nicolas Colsaerts & Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano||Marc Warren & Scott Jamieson|
Recap and Analysis
The Scottish duo of Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher were able to put down a formidable tandem in Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
It was rather surprising, because Lawrie's best finish since January was 12th place at the recent Omega European Masters. His game seems to be rounding into form at a great time, and he felt good about the victory:
Nice little 3&2 win for me and Stevie g. Both played good— Paul Lawrie (@PaulLawriegolf) October 3, 2013
Unfortunately, that was one of the few bright spots for Great Britain and Ireland, as even the halved match that got the team its only other points was a disappointment.
After winning the 15th and 16th holes with birdies, Paul Casey and Simon Khan held a 1-up lead, but a missed putt on the final green for Casey and a drained putt by Francesco Molinari got Continental Europe the halve.
Molinari formed a solid team with Italian compatriot Matteo Manassero, one of golf's premier young stars, who had four birdies on the day.
Which team will win the 2013 Seve Trophy?
The most emphatic performance came from Belgian Bomber Nicolas Colsaerts, who capitalized on his length to eagle the par-five 15th, closing out the outmatched Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson 5 and 3.
Colsaerts drained five additional birdies in the round, but teammate Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had four birdies of his own, all of which were used to win holes.
Mikko Ilonen and Thorbjorn Olesen took the lead on the second hole and never relinquished the lead, holding on for a 1-up triumph.
While Gregory Bourdy struggled, Joost Luiten carried him to a 2 and 1 victory with six birdies, including one at the par-five 17th hole to halve and clinch the match.
Here is an overview of the schedule for Day 2, courtesy of the European Tour's Instagram:
There is a bit more firepower on the Continental Europe side headlined by Colsaerts, with a good mixture of young talent in Manassero and Olesen, plus experience with Bjorn and Jimenez.
Look for Continental Europe to continue rolling and to capture the trophy for just the second time in the event's history—and first since its inaugural year in 2000.