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Irish eyes are smiling during Britain and Ireland's victory as Graeme McDowell, right, and his teammate Rory McIlroy, left, chat with team captain Paul McGinley.
Irish eyes are smiling during Britain and Ireland's victory as Graeme McDowell, right, and his teammate Rory McIlroy, left, chat with team captain Paul McGinley.

Vivendi Trophy stays with Britain and Ireland

The team captained by the three-time Ryder Cup winner Paul McGinley took an insurmountable 15-7 lead during today's singles matches.

SAINT-NOM-LA-BRETECHE, FRANCE // Britain and Ireland won their fifth successive Vivendi Trophy after victory in the first two singles matches against Continental Europe. Leading 12 1/2 to 5 1/2 after dominating the first three days, Britain and Ireland needed just two points from the 10 singles, a target further lowered when Anthony Wall pulled out in the morning, suffering an injured shoulder and shared a point with Spain's Alvaro Quiros. The trophy was secured after Rory McIlroy edged a pulsating match with the world No 5 Henrik Stenson of Sweden by one hole and Graeme McDowell took care of last year's European number one Robert Karlsson of Sweden 3 & 2. McIlroy and McDowell's victories thwarted a fightback by Continental Europe who were up in five matches, with two all-square, and battling to make a dramatic final day turnaround. In the first match, McIlroy collected an eagle and five birdies to Stenson's eagle and four birdies but it was a double-bogey by the Swede on the penultimate hole that handed the match to the Briton. Both players smashed into trees on the 17th but Stenson then hit his second shot into the heavy rough, to allow his young opponent to go ahead. Both made pars at the 18th, McIlroy sinking a nervy four-footer for the win. "I'd be lying if I said my hands weren't a little shaky over the putt on the last," McIlroy told reporters. "It was a great result for the team because of what was happening behind and good to put the point on the board." Stenson, admitted to "fighting my swing all week" but paid tribute to McIlroy. "He just keeps improving and I fully expect him to be in the Ryder Cup squad next year," Stenson told reporters. "In fact when he holed a 30-footer I told him I wouldn't mind playing with him next October if he keeps rolling them in like that." McDowell was never behind against Karlsson, who was playing his first tournament for nearly five months after retinal problems. Although Karlsson got it back to only one down after 14, errors by the Swedish player cost him any chance of recovering the deficit.

* Reuters

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