By Bernie McGuire in Abu Dhabi
The Irish duo of Shane Lowry and Seamus Power wasted little time post the official presentation looking to join teammates drowning their collective sorrows after the GB&I were handed a four-point drubbing at the Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi.
European captain Francesco Molinari led by example securing the first Singles win on the final day with success over fellow Open Champion Shane Lowry, and with Austrian Adam Meronk holing the winning putt for Europe to win six of the 10 last day matches.
The Molinari led Europeans were a point clear after day one and still by one early on day two before heading into Sunday leading by two, and going onto the triumph by four points.
The Hero Cup was brought back onto the DP World Tour schedule following the loss of the Seve Trophy, a similar event inaugurated in 2000 and ending in 2013, with Europe winning just twice in the nine events, and that being in the first and last years.
Molinari put himself out first on the final day with GB&I captain selection Lowry as his fellow Open winning rival.
The Italian quickly raced to 3up through four holes and while Lowry was back to all square through 11 holes, Molinari won the 12th and 13th holes to get back to 2up, and with Lowry making a total mess of the 16th, first getting a ‘fried egg’ in a fairway bunker and then finding a second bunker greenside, in taking a double-bogey ‘6’ for the Italian to win 3&2.
“It feels good getting that first point and it was great to play alongside Shane”, said Molinari after his match.
“We each played some great golf, back-and-forward making birdies and also hitting really good shots, but then it was nice to come out on top”.
Disappointingly Lowry ended the event winless, losing all four matches, and on the same golf course he captured the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Power was out in match four and handed his team a super start winning the first and third holes with birdies to race 2up against unbeaten Dane Nicolai Hojgaard.
Hojgaard struck back winning three holes in succession from the seventh, including eagling the eighth for the late European team replacement to go 1up. Both players then halved 10 and 11 with birdies before Power got back to square with a sixth birdie of his round at the 13th.’
Hojgaard then set about sealing Power’s fate winning 16 with a birdie to the Irishman’s bogey ‘5’ and after each bogeyed 17 it was the Dane’s registering a 1up win.
“It’s disappointing always when you’re on a losing side as each team played their hearts out and we just came-up against a better team”, said Power.
“I guess I am no different to any of my team members, as we were looking to win this week here in Abu Dhabi and with thoughts also on making it to Rome later this year.
“In the end we didn’t quite get the job done, including myself, but there was a whole lot of good stuff in my game.
“On the positive side it was very enjoyable coming over here for the first time, meeting so many of the DP World players, and also teaming with Bobby (MacIntyre), teaming in the very first match on Friday and winning so convincingly.
“So, it was good to play well in that opening Fourball match but I do need to work on the Foursomes format and get my mentality right as I struggled with the two Foursome rounds on Saturday.
“Overall, I met some good lads, struck-up some good friendships and with this week really now whetting my appetite to be there in Rome later this year.”
Lowry and Power, along with all other 18 Hero Cup players, are contesting this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at the close by Yas Links course with Lowry a past champion and Power to tee-up in his first of many regular DP World Tour events this year.
“I’m playing the HSBC at Yas Links, so looking forward to that as it’s another new venue for me and it’s been good to knock off a bit more rust after starting out last week at the Sentry”, said Power.
“Though looking forward now to a few beers with everyone I’ve met this week and then head over to Yas tomorrow”.