Seve Trophy 2013 Standings: Continental Europe in Good Spot After Strong Day 1
Seve Ballesteros would be proud of his Continental Europe compatriots.
Day 1 of the 2013 Seve Trophy saw the team associated with the tournament's namesake take a 3.5-1.5 lead over Great Britain and Ireland with a strong performance across five four-ball matches
The European Tour's official Twitter account had this post as the final scorecards were turned in at Saint-Nom-la-Breteche:
Continental Europe lead GB&I 3 1/2 to 1 1/2 at end of day one fourballs #sevetrophy— The European Tour (@European_Tour) October 3, 2013
By winning three matches outright and splitting another, captain Jose Maria Olazabal's squad will carry a two-point lead into Friday's action with Sam Torrance's bunch. Team Europe is now in prime position to increase its lead before the weekend begins in France.
Here's a complete breakdown of the first five matches, courtesy EuropeanTour.com.
|EUR||Thomas Bjorn/Miguel Angel Jimenez||3&2, GBI||Paul Lawrie/Stephen Gallacher||GBI|
|EUR||Mikko Ilonen/Thorbjorn Olesen||1 Hole, EUR||Tommy Fleetwood/Chris Wood||GBI|
|EUR||Francesco Molinari/Matteo Manassero||Match Halved||Paul Casey/Simon Khan||GBI|
|EUR||Joost Luiten/Gregory Bourdy||2&1, EUR||Jamie Donaldson/David Lynn||GBI|
|EUR||Nicolas Colsaerts/Gonzalo Fdez-Castano||5&3, EUR||Marc Warren/Scott Jamieson||GBI|
Having lost its last six appearances at the Seve Trophy after winning the inaugural tournament in 2000, Continental Europe had plenty of motivation to turn things around in Paris.
While Great Britain and Ireland have more overall talent in the pool than Continental Europe, most of that talent opted against competing this year. Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were all eligible to join Torrance's outfit, but chose instead to prioritize rest.
The move has forced other golfers into the spotlight. One such man is David Lynn, who admitted that it's been nearly two decades since he's played team golf:
Seve trophy this week, can't wait, havnt played team golf since 95 home internationals haha— david lynn (@DaveLynndawg) September 30, 2013
Reaction to the skipping six has been mixed, as Kevin Garside discusses in his recent piece for The Independent. Paul Lawrie came down hard on his Ryder Cup teammates, calling out some of the sport's top stars for not showing loyalty to the event. Golf.com's Twitter account had those comments:
Rose, McIlroy and the four others mentioned above are all ranked higher than Jamie Donaldson (43) in the Official World Golf Ranking. Donaldson has the highest ranking (43) among his Great Britain and Ireland teammates.
Those absences and noted turmoil attached to the decisions helped even the playing field for Continental Europe even before the tournament began. Even without Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Jonas Blixt, Olazabal had to feel good about his chances.
Day 1 should boost that confidence even more.
Pairings Mikko Ilonen and Thorbjorn Olesen, Joost Luiten and Gregory Bourdy and Nicolas Colsaerts and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano were all successful against their Great Britain/Ireland opponents Thursday, while Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero managed to halve their match with Paul Casey and Simon Khan.
Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez were the only group from Olazabal's team to suffer defeat. Lawrie made good on his comments of the importance of the tournament by joining Stephen Gallacher to accomplish that feat, doing so in 3-and-2 fashion.
Per Today's Golfer on Twitter, the writing on the wall in the background overshadowed what was a strong start for the reigning champions:
Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher have put the first point on the board for GB&I in the Seve Trophy but Europe lead the other 4 fourballs.— Today's Golfer (@TheTodaysGolfer) October 3, 2013
Ilonen and Olesen responded with a win of their own, going 2 up on Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Wood through 15 holes before hanging on for the one-hole victory. Molinari hit a birdie put to win the 18th hole and keep things tied through three four-ball matches.
Continental Europe's final two pairings ensured it would have the lead on Friday morning by taking care of business to close out the afternoon.
Luiten and Bourdy played consistent golf to knock off Donaldson and Lynn. After being just 1 up through the par-four 10th, Colsaerts and Fernandez-Castano won four of the next five holes to secure a 5-and-3 win.
As Ilonen said on Twitter, Europe is in a good spot moving forward:
Who will win the 2013 Seve Trophy?
With the partnerships set to remain the same on Friday, Olazabal's squad is in position to take a commanding lead before the format switches to foursomes on Saturday and singles on Sunday.
It will take a strong team performance for Continental Europe to end Great Britain and Ireland's dominance at the Seve Trophy. Luckily, the circumstances in place point to this group being able to accomplish that task.
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