Britain, Ireland poised to claim Vivendi
SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE, France -- Britain and Ireland moved closer to victory in the Vivendi Trophy on Saturday, opening up a seven-point lead over Continental Europe in the PGA European Tour match-play event.
After winning three of the four greensomes in the morning, Britain and Ireland earned 3½ more points in the afternoon foursomes to take a 12½-5½ lead -- despite missing Simon Dyson (dehydration) and Anthony Wall (shoulder injury).
In the foursomes, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell defeated Soren Hansen and Soren Kjeldsen 2 and 1, and England's Ross Fisher and Chris Wood beat Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari 3 and 2.
Henrik Stenson -the highest-ranked player at No. 5 on either team -- and Peter Hanson halved with Nick Dougherty and Steve Webster to give Europe hope. But England's Robert Rock and Oliver Wilson downed Alvaro Quiros and Miguel-Angel Jimenez 1-up.
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has been impressed with McIlroy and said he could give him a starting role in next year's showcase team event against the United States.
"We have a very special case here," Montgomerie said. "Rory is an outstanding talent, our brightest star in Europe right now. He is a breath of fresh air."
There are 10 singles matches still to play Sunday at the Saint-Nom-la-Breteche Golf Club on the outskirts of Paris.
Earlier, Britain and Ireland extended his two-point overnight lead to 9-5 in the greensomes -where both players drive and hit alternate shots with the preferred tee shot.
Rock and Dougherty started the day with a 5-and-4 win over Robert Karlsson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, before McDowell and McIlroy rallied from 2-down after eight holes to beat Stenson and Hanson 2 and 1.
Fisher and Wood edged Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari 1-up. Miguel-Angel Jimenez and Alvaro Quiros then birdied the last to scored Europe's only point in the greensomes and inflict the first loss on Dyson and Wilson, also 1-up.
The Vivendi Trophy, formerly known as the Seve Trophy after Seve Ballesteros, was created in 2000. Continental Europe won the inaugural event before Britain and Ireland has won the last four.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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