CONTINENTAL Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal toasted an emotional victory last night after his men narrowly pipped Sam Torrance’s Great Britain and Ireland to win the Seve Trophy for the first time in 13 years.
The defending champions came close to completing a sensational comeback victory, despite being without Major winners Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell in France, only to fall short in the final singles match.
Italian Francesco Molinari earned the decisive point, just as he had for Olazabal’s triumphant Ryder Cup team at Medinah a year ago, as the Spanish skipper won the competition inspired by his countryman, great friend and mentor Seve Ballesteros 15-13.
“Very emotional, it’s been a tough day,” was Olazabal’s reaction. “Everything went to the last match. The boys really played well and I’m very, very happy to have won the Seve Trophy this time.”
Molinari’s 3&2 win over England’s Chris Wood signalled the celebrations and denied Torrance and his depleted team a famous comeback, having trailed by two points after the first day’s play.
“They were very strong,” said City A.M. columnist Torrance, another victorious former Ryder Cup captain. “We gave it everything, but came out just short.”
GB and Ireland started yesterday 9-9, having narrowed the gap on Friday, but were always playing catch-up, despite wins for Tommy Fleetwood, Marc Warren and Paul Lawrie. But Nicolas Colsaerts, Gregory Bourdy, Matteo Manassero and Miguel Angel Jimenez repeatedly edged Europe ahead before Molinari completed the job.