Britain and Ireland stretch Vivendi lead

Chris Wood had luck on his side as he made it three wins out of three for Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe at the Vivendi Trophy in Paris today.

Leading 6-4 after two sessions of fourballs, Paul McGinley’s side turned that into a 9-5 advantage in the morning greensomes.

After winning twice with Anthony Wall, who is not playing today because of shoulder trouble, the 21-year-old debutant Wood had Ross Fisher as his new partner.

They overcame the previously unbeaten pair of Dane Anders Hansen and Italian Francesco Molinari by one hole after a huge stroke of fortune at the 209-yard last.

Wood hit his tee shot into the pond on the right and then Fisher’s shot was heading for more water behind the green, but stopped inches away by a railing.

They were able to go to a drop zone, Wood chipped to two feet and they got the half they needed.

That came after Britain and Ireland had already added two more points.

First Robert Rock and Nick Dougherty thrashed Robert Karlsson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 5&4, then Irish duo Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy came from two down after eight to beat Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson 2&1.

World number five Stenson is the highest-ranked player on either side, but he went into the afternoon foursomes trying to avoid a fourth successive loss.

Only Spaniards Miguel Angel Jimenez and Alvaro Quiros prevented a whitewash.

They faced Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson, winners of their first two games and four out of five since first being paired together two years ago, and were all square with one to play.

Quiros then hit to three feet and Jimenez did have to putt after their opponents bogeyed.

Dyson was still feeling some of the effects of the food poisoning that kept him in bed all day on Wednesday, and after originally being kept with Wilson for the foursomes it was announced he was being replaced by Rock.

Not that Continental captain Thomas Bjorn had a totally fit team. Dane Soren Kjeldsen had also suffered from an upset stomach and was rested during the morning.

Dougherty said: “I haven’t been playing great and Rocky (Robert Rock) was saying he has been struggling a bit, but today we were phenomenal.

“I drove the ball great and Rocky’s iron play was superb. We were six under, which is great in foursomes.”

McDowell and McIlroy were eight under, and six under for eight holes from the ninth.

A spectacular bunker shot from McDowell that almost went in for eagle at the 16th was absolutely crucial.

“One of the best bunker shots I’ve ever seen,” said 20-year-old McIlroy. “We were really up for it this morning – we didn’t like losing yesterday.”

McDowell added: “Rory played fantastic. He holed some really, really key putts early doors.”

Greensomes results on the third day of the Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros, Continental Europe v Great Britain and Ireland, at St-Nom la Breteche, Paris, France, today.

(Continental Europe names first, Britain and Ireland lead 9-5):

Continental Europe 1 Britain and Ireland 3

Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson lost to Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell 2&1

Robert Karlsson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano lost to Robert Rock and Nick Dougherty 5&4

Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari lost to Ross Fisher and Chris Wood 1 hole

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Alvaro Quiros bt Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson 1 hole

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