By Fatiha Betscher in Abu Dhabi.
Seamus Power had the honour of drawing first blood for his GB&I side despite being out in the last match on day one of the inaugural Hero Cup here in Abu Dhabi.
The current PGA Tour No. 1 landed an 8-iron tee shot to some 10-feet at the par-3 fourth hole on the host National Course at the Abu Dhabi GC.
FIRST BLOOD IN LAST #HeroCup MATCH TO 🇬🇧&IRE
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Power is teamed with top-ranked Scot Robert MacIntyre who the Las Vegas-based Irish golfer met for a first time on Wednesday, and along with Shane Lowry, played an 18-hole practice round.
The Irishman and the often reserved Scot got on famously, laughing their heads off for much of the round, and at the expense of Lowry who was losing in the 100 Dirham (Euro 25) skins match they played. Power ended-up collecting the two 100 Dirham banknotes, winning nine holes to MacIntyre’s seven while Lowry was ‘skinless’.
It was very much the reason Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, who had been out watching the match on Wednesday, picked Power and MacIntyre for partners. Power and MacIntyre were up against the Europeans Sepp Straka and Adrian Meronk.
The opening three holes were halved with MacIntyre matching a Meronk birdie at the first and then Power birdied the second and also get the halve after a second Meronk birdie.
But it was Power hitting off last in the fourball off the fourth tee in grabbing a second birdie in four holes to take the match to 1up in favour of GB&I
MacIntyre then put GB&I 2up in stepping-up to birdie the par-4 6th, and after playing his second shot well right off the fairway but in very light rough which is a feature this week compared to the course set-up in the hosting from 2006 to 2021 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
MacIntyre would come good again on the par-4 11th, making birdie as GB&I stretched three clear in the match before Power produced yet another sublime iron shot to inside 7 feet on the 12th, with GB&I taking a four-up lead and claiming their first full point of the Hero Cup with a 4&3 victory on 15.
Meanwhile, Shane Lowry struggled in the opening match in teaming with GB&I captain Tommy Fleetwood and up against defending Abu Dhabi HSBC champion Thomas Pieters. The Belgian was on fire, winning the second, sixth and ninth holes with birdies and with the help of teammate Alex Noren ,they had moved to 3up through nine holes.
To their enormous credit, the GB&I pairing pegged the match back to all-square through a Lowry birdie on the par-4 10th and back-to-back birdies for Fleetwood on 14 and 15. However, for once, Lowry’s short game abandoned him at the crunch, with GB&I’s ‘5’ at the final hole bettered by Noren’s winning birdie ‘4’ as the Continent won the match 1up.
In the other three matches, it was Europe up in all three, but only 1up in each, early in the back nine stages.
- Full scoring HERE