SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE, France (AP) — Britain and Ireland won four and halved one of the eight foursomes to level 9-9 with Continental Europe in the Seve Trophy on Saturday.
Continental Europe led 8-6 after the morning session but Britain and Ireland fought back in the afternoon. Paul Casey and David Lynn beat Miguel Angel Jimenez and Matteo Manassero by a hole to level the contest.
"It's been so close all week. It could have gone either way," Casey said. "It seems like we have been getting off to bad starts all week, and this session, looked like we were getting off to a good start and things went a bit pear shaped in the middle."
Lynn converted a birdie putt from 10 feet on the last hole. The tournament ends on Sunday with 10 singles. Each team needs only 5 1/2 more points for victory. Continental Europe lost the last six meetings and is trying to win the trophy for the first time since the inaugural contest in 2000.
"I want to win it badly, it's as simple as that," Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal said. "I don't like that record at all and hopefully this group of 10 people will be able to achieve that tomorrow."
After two days of fourballs, Continental Europe was leading 5 1/2-4 1/2. On Saturday morning, Nicolas Colsaerts and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano halved their match with Stephen Gallacher and Paul Lawrie. The Scottish duo was three down after eight holes, but birdied Nos. 16 and 17 while Fernandez-Castano missed the winning putt from 10 feet on the last hole.
Joost Luiten and Gregory Bourdy birdied their last three holes to beat Jamie Donaldson and Marc Warren 2 and 1. Chris Wood and Scott Jamieson combined for six birdies to defeat Thorbjorn Olesen and Francesco Molinari 2 and 1.
Jimenez and Manassero edged Casey and Tommy Fleetwood by a hole to give Continental Europe an 8-6 lead. In the afternoon, Donaldson and Warren spurred a comeback for Britain and Ireland by defeating Thomas Bjorn and Mikko Ilonen 2 and 1.
Then Gallacher and Lawrie capitalized on a poor start from Colsaerts and Fernandez-Castano to go 3 up after five holes. The Scottish pair won 2 and 1 to tie the contest at 8-8. Luiten and Bourdy are participating for the first time in the Seve Trophy and have shone by winning all four matches they've played.
The rookies beat Wood and Jamieson by two holes. Wood eagled from a bunker shot on No. 17, forcing the in-form pair to play the last hole on the golf course of Saint-Nom-la-Breteche. But Luiten and Bourdy did not crack under pressure and sealed the win with a birdie to hand a 9-8 lead to Continental Europe.
"We played really consistent," Luiten said. "We didn't make really a lot of mistakes. A lot of pars, especially in foursomes, that's pretty good. We worked really well as a team together."