McGinley’s men keep control in Paris

BRITAIN AND IRELAND had the better of things for the second day running and now lead Continental Europe 6-4 at the Vivendi Trophy in Paris.

Paul McGinley’s side, made underdogs before the start because six top players dropped out, are heading for a fifth successive victory in what used to be called the Seve Trophy.

Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson had their second win – and fourth in five games since first being paired together two years ago – when they beat Henrik Stenson and Alvaro Quiros 2&1.

It was brilliant stuff from all four players. A birdie two on the last would have given the English pair a 12-under-par 59 and their opponents were nine under when it finished.

On Wednesday morning, Dyson was even a doubt for the match after contracting food poisoning but he has been one of the stars of the show.

“I was on death’s door,” said the English player, who had only a slice of toast all day.

“I was not 100% yesterday but today was good and we are gelling fantastically well. Paul asked who was my ideal partner and I said Ollie straightaway.”

Chris Wood and Anthony Wall, both of whom were drafted in because of the withdrawals, are also unbeaten, this time overcoming Miguel Angel Jimenez and Soren Kjeldsen 3&2.

That lacked the fireworks of their first-day drubbing of Stenson and Robert Karlsson but Wall sealed the win with a long bunker shot which Nick Dougherty described as “unbelievable”.

By then Dougherty and Ross Fisher had hit back from their first-day loss to beat Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson 3&2.

That match was closed out in style when Fisher curled in a 25-footer for an eagle on the 541-yard 16th to move them to nine under.

Continental captain Thomas Bjorn had kept Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari together and that paid off when their second victory came by a 3&1 margin against highly-rated Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.

What might be a Ryder Cup partnership next October – they certainly hope so – were behind from the moment McDowell missed from eight feet at the first and Italian Molinari holed from seven.

Steve Webster and Robert Rock were all square with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Karlsson on the final tee but both found sand and could not get up and down.

However, the contest is not yet at the halfway stage. Like the Ryder Cup, 28 are to play for in all. Today sees four greensomes and four foursomes and Sunday brings 10 singles.

- Ireland’s Michael Collins secured a level par 72 in the final round of Stage One of Qualifying School at The Oxfordshire to finish on seven under, placing him joint 15th.

The Mallow native carded a total score of 281, sealing one of the 28 places on offer for Stage 2 which will be held on November 20-23rd in Spain.

John Kelly was the best placed Irish player in joint third on 276, only five behind the event winner, American Ryan Blaum, who carded a 271.

David Higgins kept his hopes alive of returning to the European Tour coming in on the final day with a 70 and a total of 282. His joint 17th place also qualified for Stage 2.


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