- Seve Trophy
Europe triumph 15-13 in Seve Trophy
Francesco Molinari repeated his Ryder Cup heroics as Europe ended their 13-year wait for the Seve Trophy by holding on to beat Great Britain and Ireland 15-13.
The singles went to the wire at Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche with Molinari holing a birdie on 16 to beat Chris Wood three and two in the final match, reprising his role from last year at Medinah where he completed victory for Europe over the USA.
And the Italian admitted he had a feeling Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal would hand him the chance to close the contest.
"It was funny yesterday when Olazábal was reading the list; I kind of knew I was going to be last, but I was waiting every name, hoping to hear mine, and I didn't until the tenth spot," said Molinari. "But it's great for us and for everyone.
"I tried to stay away from the leaderboards as much as possible, but then obviously you see everyone coming up to your match and watching you. I tried not to do the math, so I just realized here that I needed a half a point, so I wasn't going to hit my putts too firmly. It's good to finish in style with two birdies.
"You've got nine teammates here and the captain, and you don't want to let anyone down. I've done it twice now going last in the singles, I don't know if I want to do it again!
"It feels great, for us, for Chema, for all the times that we have lost in the past. I played the last two before this, and it's never a good feeling to finish on the losing side. We tried really hard; they played great yesterday afternoon to get back into it and it was all to play for today."
GB&I had won the last six contests, but Europe looked in pole position having led after both of the first two days. A fightback in the foursomes saw Sam Torrance's side bring the score back to 9-9 heading into the final day however.
Five points was the target for both teams after Simon Khan's back injury meant his match with Thomas Bjorn was halved. And it was GB&I who struck the first blow with Tommy Fleetwood claiming a shock three and two win over Joost Luiten - putting an end to the Dutchman's perfect record - for his first point of the week.
Another point was halved with nothing separating Jamie Donaldson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. But Nicolas Colsaerts struck back for Europe, holing from five feet on the 18th green to see off Paul Casey in a thrilling finale to their match.
Gregory Bourdy claimed a piece of history by becoming the first player in the history of the Seve Trophy to win five points from five, beating Scott Jamieson four and three in front of his home crowd.
The Frenchman's performance drew a special mention from Olazabal. He said: "In front of his own people, the way he played - especially being a rookie - he did extraordinarily well. It's a team event, everybody contributed and Greg did it in a big way."
Marc Warren levelled the contest again at 12-12 with a win by the same score over Thorbjorn Olesen, though Europe were looking good in three of the last four matches.
A flu-ridden David Lynn was blown away six and four by Miguel Angel Jimenez - who hit four birdies in the first six holes of an electric start, while the Englishman found the water twice on Sunday. Matteo Manassero then dispatched Stephen Gallacher three and two to put Europe one point away from victory.
With Molinari two up in the closing stages, Paul Lawrie beat Mikko Ilonen two and one leaving the Italian needing just half a point. But Molinari holed a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th to end Wood's - and GB&I's - challenge, just as he did for the USA's hopes in Chicago last year when he halved his match with Tiger Woods to ensure Europe won the Ryder Cup.
Olazabal described the win - only Europe's second in the tournament - as "very emotional". He added: "It's been a tough day. Everything went to the last match. The boys really played well today and I'm very, very happy to have won the Seve Trophy this time.
"It was going to go down to the last three matches at least. We had a pretty good start, then Great Britain and Ireland took over and we started to see some reds on the board. But the boys kept their composure and played really well, especially these last few matches, they played really great golf. I think the first two matches were crucial, to get a point and a half out of those two, it was big."
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