Continental Europe clinched their first Seve Trophy victory in 13 years with a 15-13 defeat of Great Britain & Ireland on Sunday.
After losing the opening fourball on Thursday, Jose Maria Olazabal’s side recovered to lead 3½-1½ after the first day of play and, despite Great Britain & Ireland drawing level on various occasions, the home side never fell behind again.
|EUR||Gonzalo Fdez-Castano||Halved||Jamie Donaldson||GBI|
|EUR||Nicolas Colsaerts||EUR win, 1 Hole||Paul Casey||GBI|
|EUR||Joost Luiten||GBI win, 3&2||Tommy Fleetwood||GBI|
|EUR||Thomas Bjorn||Halved||Simon Khan||GBI|
|EUR||Gregory Bourdy||EUR win, 4&3||Scott Jamieson||GBI|
|EUR||Thorbjorn Olesen||GBI win, 4&3||Marc Warren||GBI|
|EUR||Matteo Manassero||EUR win, 3&2||Stephen Gallacher||GBI|
|EUR||Mikko Ilonen||GBI win, 2&1||Paul Lawrie||GBI|
|EUR||Miguel Angel Jimenez||EUR win, 6&4||David Lynn||GBI|
|EUR||Francesco Molinari||EUR win, 3&2||Chris Wood||GBI|
The lead up to the tournament was overshadowed by talk of the players who weren’t making the trip to St-Nom-La-Breteche, such as Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. Olazabal, who also led Europe to success in this year’s Ryder Cup, reiterated the importance of the sport’s best players making themselves available for the Seve Trophy.
The victorious captain told The Telegraph: “It would be a shame if the Seve Trophy didn’t carry on for many years as this has been such a wonderful match. We need as many big names as possible.”
Should the big names of European golf have played the Seve Trophy?
James Corrigan reported in the same paper: “Unless the European Tour can find a sponsor, this, indeed, may be the last staging of the Seve Trophy.”
If it does happen to be the last time Great Britain & Ireland line out against Continental Europe, the event organisers couldn’t have asked for a tighter contest.
Here’s a look at the defining moments from the four days of play.
Molinari's Birdie: Thursday
Francesco Molinari was in solid form all week but his birdie putt on the 18th hole on Day 1 proved to be vital for the home side.
Molinari and his partner Matteo Manassero were one behind Paul Casey and Simon Khan going into the final hole in the opening fourballs and, when the 30-year-old's wild drive landed on the adjacent fairway, the Italian pair's hopes of halving the hole looked to be fading.
But the experienced Molinari recovered from his error when he floated in an exquisite approach shot before sinking his putt from five feet to clinch a crucial half point with his last putt of the day.
Fleetwood's Miss: Friday
Tommy Fleetwood and compatriot Chris Wood came extremely close to completing an unlikely comeback against Joost Luiten and Gregory Bourdy in Friday’s fourballs.
The English pair were three down after 14 and two down with two to play but Wood produced a moment of magic on 17 when he sunk an eagle to send the contest into a final hole.
Fleetwood then had the chance to secure the turnaround with a six-foot putt on the final green but the debutant missed to hand Continental Europe a full point as they ended the day with a 5½—4½ lead.
Lynn's putt on 18: Saturday
Englishman David Lynn rounded off an excellent Day 3 for the visitors as they chopped away at Continental Europe’s lead to finish the day level at 9-9 heading into Sunday’s singles.
Lynn, who was making his Seve Trophy debut, ensured a nail-biting final day when he landed a 10-foot putt on 18 to secure a one-hole victory for him and his partner Paul Casey against veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez and 20-year-old Manassero.
Colsaerts Holds His Nerve: Sunday
Olazabal said after the win that it was “big” for his side to get a point and a half out of the “crucial” opening two singles matches, the Irish Times reported.
After Gonzalo Fdez-Castano halved with Jamie Donaldson, Nicolas Colsaerts put Continental Europe ahead with a point against Casey.
Colsaerts made no mistakes on the final green when he held his nerve to land a five-foot putt that handed his team the lead on the final day.
After an important birdie at the 18th on Day 1, Molinari was central to the action on the final day of play also.
Playing in the anchor role for his team, much like he did in last year’s Ryder Cup victory in Medinah, the Italian showed his mettle once more as he successfully landed a putt from 12 feet on the 16th to secure a 3&2 victory over Chris Wood, and with it a 15-13 win for Continental Europe.