Britain fight back in Greensomes

It could have been a mauling, but Paul Lawrie helped put the Great back into Britain

Martin Park @ Sunningdale
Sun, 16 Apr 2000
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Open Champion Paul Lawrie put the Great back into Britain during this morning’s Greensomes matches when he holed from 30 feet on the last green to halve his match against Olazabal and Jimenez and ultimately save the day for Great Britain and Ireland.

The match would prove pivotal as earlier in the day, Europe were up in four matches and seemingly cruising to a healthy lead going into the singles. But the British contingent showed courage and tenacity, snatching the vital points and halves when defeat loomed.

Olazabal started the day where he left off yesterday, in blistering form, holing a 50 foot eagle putt on the first hole to put the Spaniards in command. They forged ahead to lead at the turn, but Lawrie and Orr rallied to bring the match level by the tenth hole.

But with a bogey from Orr and Lawrie at the 16th, the Spaniards lead 1-up with two to play.
Lawrie missed from ten feet for birdie at the 17th and it needed a last ditch effort to salvage a half.

It was Lawrie’s countryman and partner Gary Orr who fired an eight iron over the flag to set up the putt on the 18th green, which, if missed would have put the British team at a distinct disadvantage going into the singles.

But Lawrie summoned up the nerve and class that won him a Claret Jug last July canning the putt for an improbable half point.

But Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood looked completely out of sorts, missing tap in putts and scrambling their way around, ending up on the wrong end of a 4&3 scoreline. The first and most prized point of the day went to the Europeans of Langer and Bjorn. Seve looked pleased with his teams performance.

But cracks appeared in the European camp as Sergio Garcia and Jean Van de Velde failed to convert some excellent play into a victory.
Seve would have been proud at his young protégé’s prowess on the greens, but his mind wandered late in the back nine to allow Colin Montgomerie and David Howell a chance at dragging the match back. And that, they did.

The British pair were two down with six holes to play and won four out of the next five holes for a 2&1 victory. Howell made all the putts when it mattered, but the ubiquitous accuracy from Montgomerie set up all those chances for Howell to convert.

In the final match, the roles were reversed as Phillip Price and John Bickerton failed to hold on to a well-earned 2-up lead after sixteen holes against Robert Karlsson and Alex Cejka.

Price and Bickerton fought back from 2-down after eight holes, winning the ninth, 10th and 11th, losing the 12th before winning the 13th and 14th to forge two holes up. But in a spirited fight-back from Karlsson and Cejka with two birdies on the final two holes let the Europeans off the hook, resulting in a scoreline the British team would be happier to take into the singles matches. Eight points each with ten to play for.

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