By Bernie McGuire in Abu Dhabi.
Seamus Power was thrilled to have kick-started a first full team event in the pro ranks by helping secure a thumping 4&3 victory for GB&I on the opening day of the Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Power and top-ranked Scot, Robert MacIntyre teed-up in the last of five Fourball matches and after Power holed the 10-footer for birdie at the fourth to go 1up, the duo were never headed in their match against the Continental European duo of Austrian Sepp Straka and Poland’s Adrian Meronk.
Power and MacIntyre dove-tailed superbly with Power winning the fourth, MacIntyre the sixth and 11th and Power taking the 12th.
Their success was rubber-stamped thanks to a par at the 15th and the pair were the first win of any team over the host National course before Europe ended the first day leading 3&2 ahead of two rounds of Foursomes on Saturday.
Europe grabbed victory in the first match with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters combining with Alex Noren to win 1up at the last, with Noren making birdie at the par-5 18th against GB&I captain Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry.
Their match was all-square coming down the last but with Lowry leaking his shot right of the green before playing a poor chip shot from where he missed the birdie putt. Lowry was clearly disappointed, first with the indifferent chip shot and then dropping his putter and bending over and placing his hands on his knees in disappointment after his birdie attempt missed the hole.
Checking Lowry’s scorecard he managed just three birdies, at the fourth, 10th and 12th holes but also posted a bogey at the sixth. His birdie on 10 was the only winning hole for the team.
In contrast, Power was akin to a kid in a candy store, very much enjoying the occasion and thrilled to have helped secure the first point in the competition for GB&I.
“It’s brilliant, not only for the team but for me to win a first point in my first team match as a pro,” said Power.
“It was just great out there playing alongside Bobby (MacIntyre) today, hitting loads of fairways, loads of greens and making a few putts so very happy to win 3 and 2 in the end.
“It was a great start by Adrian (Meronk) birdieing the first two holes, so it was good I could respond with a birdie on the first and to the side go 1up when I birdied the fourth. After that birdie on four we never let them back into it, so there was a lot of good stuff out there.”
So, how did you feel on the first tee? Was it any different to how you feel teeing-up on day one in a PGA Tour event?
“The opening tee was a little different than normal and I felt a that there was a little bit more on the line given you are playing with a partner,” Power admitted.
“It was great playing with Bob and considering we only met for a first time on Tuesday night and then had a practice round together on Wednesday. He was very easy to play with and very easy to get along with.
“So overall just delighted Bob and I could team to get a point on the board as we are going to need them all.”
And with six birdies, and two of them winning putts at the fourth and 12th holes, it was his putting that Power singled out as key.
“I was really happy with my putting as I made a couple of really good key putts, and early on the match with the birdie on one and the birdie also at the fourth.”
In other matches:
Europeans Antoine Rozner and Thomas Detry won 2up over GB&I’s Tyrrell Hatton and Jordan Smith
GB&I’s Ewen Ferguson and Richard Mansell tied with Europeans Francesco Molinari and Nicolai Hojgaard, while Callum Shinkwin and Matt Wallace tied with Europeans Victor Perez and Guido Migliozzi
END OF ROUND ONE – 2023 HERO CUP
- Europe 2 – GB&I 1
- Full scoring HERE