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Seve Trophy 2013: Day 1 Stars Who Will Help Continental Europe End Drought

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 02:  The team of Europe pose for a team photograph, (back row left to right) Miguel Angel Jimenez, Gegory Bourdy , Gonzalo Fernandez Castano, Thomas Bjorn, Nicolas Colsaerts and Mikko Ilonen. (front row left to right) Matteo Manassero, Francesco Molinari, capatin Jose Maria Olazabal, Joost Luiten and Thorbjorn Olesen
prior to the start of Le Seve Trophy at Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Breteche on October 2, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured Columnist IVJune 18, 2016

Continental Europe got the start it needed in pursuit of the 2013 Seve Trophy. After dropping six straight encounters with its counterparts from Great Britain and Ireland, Europe won three of the five matches and halved another on Day 1.

Ever since Europe won the first edition of the tournament in 2000, the team from Great Britain and Ireland has been virtually unstoppable. Not only has it come out on top in every battle since 2002, but has usually done so in dominant fashion.

Several high-profile players are not in attendance for the defending champions, though. That includes Ian Poulter, who thrives at these team events. So the door is open for Europe. Let's check out some Day 1 stars who will continue to play well and help end the drought.

 

Francesco Molinari

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03:  Francesco Molinari of the European team plays a shot during the first day's fourballs at the Seve Trophy at Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Breteche on October 3, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Molinari was struggling to make an impact through 11 holes. He hadn't won a single hole, but luckily for Europe rising star Matteo Manassero was able to keep it close until the veteran found his form. And he finally did down the stretch.

Playing fourball, the Italian won three of the final seven holes for Europe to earn a draw for his side. The hot streak finished at 18, where he carded a birdie to square up the match. It was a clutch run for a player who endured an up-and-down season.

His ability to step up when it mattered is a testament to his experience in these type of environments. Whether it's the Ryder Cup or the Seve Trophy, he's been a yearly fixture for Europe and all those high-pressure matches are starting to pay off.

 

Nicolas Colsaerts

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 19:  Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium plays a shot during the first round of the Italian Open golf at Circolo Golf Torino on September 19, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Colsaerts is a perfect player for team competition. Europe can pair the big-hitting Belgian with a more conservative player, as it did with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and let him take some chances knowing his partner can make up for any mistakes.

The plan worked out perfectly as Colsaerts won four holes en route to a 5-and-3 victory for Europe. He closed out the match with an eagle on No. 15, illustrating that aggressive style that can be a flaw during normal stoke-play events.

His performance on the opening day should provide him with a boatload of confidence. That makes him as dangerous as any player in the tournament because when he's striking the ball like he did on Thursday, it's a huge advantage for Europe.

 

Joost Luiten

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03:  Joost Luiten and Gregory Bourdy of the European team celebrate during the first day's fourballs at the Seve Trophy at Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Breteche on October 3, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Luiten is a journeyman with limited international experience, but he made his presence felt in a major way on Day 1. He put Gregory Bourdy on his shoulders and carried him to victory; he scored all four of the hole wins the pair had in a narrow victory.

In order to win these type of tournaments, a team needs at least one or two unexpected players to have great weeks. That's especially true when one side is on an extended skid like Europe. It needs somebody to provide a spark.

It looks like Luiten will be that guy. He played outstanding golf throughout the opening day and there's no reason to think he won't be able to maintain that form. His strong play helps Europe finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

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