Spaniards hone Ryder Cup act

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Seve Ballesteros and Jos-Maria Olazabal played superbly to win the Perrier Paris Pairs tournament at Saint-Cloud yesterday and then issued a warning to the American Ryder Cup team.

"Tell the Americans that we are alive and well - we want the Cup back as soon as possible and we are ready," Ballesteros said as he looked forward to the meeting at Oak Hill, New York, in September.

Olazabal added: "And make sure you tell them that we are in very good health."

The Spanish pair, who have won 11 and halved two of their 15 Ryder Cup matches together, won the Paris tournament with a 24-under-par score of 256 after shooting 62 in the last-round fourball. They finished three shots clear of Mike Clayton and Peter O'Malley, and four ahead of Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam.

Clayton and O'Malley, who had a magnificent 10-under-par 60 yesterday, closed the gap to two shots after 12 holes. Montgomerie and Woosnam were never in the hunt even though they went round in 64.

The Spaniards have been arguably the best pairing in the world since Olazabal turned professional in 1985. Ballesteros said: "It is important for us to have the prestige and respect of the people, and we keep proving that every time we play together."

And Olazabal said: "We think the same way, we have the same ideas on the golf course and know exactly what we have to do. We have played so much together we know each other's game so well."

Ballesteros and Olazabal were in the groove from the start, shooting four birdies in the first nine holes and four coming home, with Ballesteros making five of them and Olazabal three.

Clayton and O'Malley had 10 birdies. They holed six putts of more than 20 feet, and O'Malley finished the round with a 30-foot birdie putt at the last.

Scores, Sporting Digest, page 32