Seve Trophy: Europe on top despite Paul Lawrie's fine start

 

Continental Europe made a solid start in the Seve Trophy by opening up a two-point lead against Britain and Ireland after the first-day fourballs.

Europe, who lost the last six meetings and are trying to win the trophy for the first time since the inaugural contest in 2000, won three of the five pairings on a day of mixed weather conditions.

Nicolas Colsaerts and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano finished the day by winning 5&3 against the Scottish pair Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren. The holders made a bright start when Stephen Gallacher and Paul Lawrie beat veterans Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez 3&2 in the opener.

"They played very well. Our boys played very well, too, but they made a few more birdies than us. Our turn tomorrow," the Britain and Ireland captain, Sam Torrance, said. "You put your best match out first and they stood up to be counted with a great win."

Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal sent out his most experienced pairing first with Bjorn having played in six contests, while Jimenez is the only player to have competed in all seven. They were undone by three birdies in the last four holes from Lawrie and Gallacher.

"Obviously there is a little bit more pressure when you are going out there first," former Open champion Lawrie said. "You want to get a point on the board which we managed to do and we both combined very well today."

But Europe won the second and fourth matches, as Mikko Ilonen and Thorbjorn Olesen beat Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Wood by a single hole and Gregory Bourdy and Joost Luiten won 2&1 against Jamie Donaldson and David Lynn.

The third game was halved as Britain and Ireland missed their chance. Ryder Cup player Paul Casey and Simon Khan were on course to get a point, but Italy's Francesco Molinari birdied the last as he and countryman Matteo Manassero earned a half. Molinari enjoyed a slice of luck when his wild drive on the 18th finished on an adjacent fairway and he then hit a fine approach shot to set up the birdie.

"It looked like 4-1 down and it almost could have turned to 3-2 ahead but that's golf," Torrance said.

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