Golf: Seniors prove dominant males

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The Independent Online
The European Cup, a matchplay event between 10 of golf's top PGA senior men and the leading women on the European Tour, did not prove entirely one-sided, as Catherine Riley reports from Praia D'el Rey, Portugal.

In the end it was an easy 13-7 victory for the men in the European Cup yesterday as they capitalised on an over-night five-point advantage.

Following representations over tee length, which all agreed had been wrong for the fourballs - a stronger area for the men - the organisers had altered the set-ups from Saturday's 5-0 whitewash, so that some of the front nine holes for the singles gave the women a 60-yard advantage. The difference on the first day of the three-day tournament was 428 yards in total, by yesterday it was 585.

Despite her one-hole defeat by Noel Ratcliffe, Alison Nicholas, this year's Order of Merit winner, said the course was "much fairer", although she still felt the shorter-hitting women were penalised on the back nine.

The women made a fine start, Trish Johnson's eagle at the first setting up Antonio Garrido for a swift defeat 2 and 1.

Marie-Laure de Lorenzi, the women's captain, was aided by David Creamer's unerring ability to find the heather, his conceding of the sixth, seventh and eighth holes helping the Frenchwoman to a 3 and 1 victory.

The women held the advantage after the first nine holes, to the disgust of Jim Rhodes. "Give them another 100 yards and two shots and we'll play over nine holes," he said, as he stalked off the ninth green two down on his way to defeat by Karen Lunn.

Maurice Bembridge, who had told the women on Saturday night to "stop whinging and go and practise", lost by one hole to Kathryn Marshall. Nicholas gleefully pointed Bembridge in the direction of the driving range as he came off the 18th.

However, wins by the final four seniors, Jose-Maria Canizares, Malcolm Gregson, John Morgan and captain Tommy Horton gave the men victory by five-and-a-half points to four-and-a-half.

The women's team suffered from missing players such as Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam, while nine of this year's top 10 seniors turned out for the men.

"There were a couple of niggles, which was a bit unnecessary," Marshall. "No-one's going to be happy, but I hope they get it sorted out as it's a great contest. No competitor wants to lose, but this male-female thing makes it more pleasurable to win."

Britain's Lee Westwood fired a closing 71 to win the Taiyeiyo Masters in Gotemba, Japan, yesterday. Starting the final round with a three-shot lead, Westwood, the defending champion, won with a total of 272, 16 under par, beating the brothers, Masashi Ozaki and Naomichi Ozaki, by one stroke.