Hero Cup: Continental Europe earn 14.5-10.5 victory over Great Britain and Ireland in new team event | Golf News

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Francesco Molinari served as a playing captain in Continental Europe’s victory over Tommy Fleetwood’s Great Britain and Ireland team; Adrian Meronk claimed the winning point in the three-day team contest in Abu Dhabi

Last Updated: 15/01/23 12:41pm

Continental Europe celebrate with the Hero Cup after beating Great Britain and Ireland

Continental Europe celebrate with the Hero Cup after beating Great Britain and Ireland

Continental Europe impressed in the Sunday singles to earn a 14.5-10.5 over Great Britain and Ireland at the inaugural Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi.

Francesco Molinari’s side held a two-point advantage at Abu Dhabi Golf Club heading into the final day of the three-day contest, introduced with the intention of giving players more team experience ahead of potential future appearances in Europe’s Ryder Cup team.

Molinari secured the opening point of the Sunday singles when he defeated Shane Lowry 3&2 and it was left to Adrian Meronk to sink the decisive putt in his 1up victory over Englishman Callum Shinkwin.

In total, Continental Europe won six of the 10 matches during the final day to run out deserved winners, with Molinari delighted after a nervous couple of hours waiting following his victory over fellow former Open champion Lowry.

“It’s amazing – I can finally relax,” Molinari said. “I’m super happy for the guys. It’s been very easy leading them and being a captain for them. I think we found some great pairings and it has been a great week to start the year.

“It made my job a lot easier because I didn’t have to tinker and change too much. It’s a great event, we really enjoyed it, the DP World Tour has done a great job of setting up. I think we played some really great golf overall.”

Luke Donald has praised the Hero Cup sessions as an 'invaluable' experience as he prepares for the Ryder Cup.

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Luke Donald has praised the Hero Cup sessions as an ‘invaluable’ experience as he prepares for the Ryder Cup.

Luke Donald has praised the Hero Cup sessions as an ‘invaluable’ experience as he prepares for the Ryder Cup.

Francesco Molinari won 3&2 vs Shane Lowry

Tommy Fleetwood won 3&2 vs Thomas Pieters

Tyrrell Hatton won 5&4 vs Antoine Rozner

Nicolai Hojgaard won 1up vs Seamus Power

Matt Wallace won 2&1 vs Thomas Detry

Adrian Meronk won 1up vs Callum Shinkwin

Victor Perez won 4&2 vs Jordan Smith

Sepp Straka won 5&4 vs Ewen Ferguson

Robert MacIntyre won 5&3 Alex Noren

Guido Migliozzi won 4&3 vs Richard Mansell

GB&I captain Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton turned the board red with comfortable 3&2 and 5&4 wins over Thomas Pieters and Antoine Rozner, and Matt Wallace kept them in the hunt with a 2&1 success over Thomas Detry.

But Continental Europe maintained their advantage as Nicolai Hojgaard beat Seamus Power one up, while Victor Perez and Sepp Straka were too strong for Jordan Smith and Ewen Ferguson in their respective 4&2 and 5&4 victories.

It was left to Meronk to sink his birdie putt from more than 30 feet on the 18th green to see Continental Europe home.

Scot Robert Macintyre, beating Alex Noren 5&3, and Guido Miglozzi, with a 4&3 victory over Richard Mansell, produced the final points for their teams.

Paul McGinley says the phycology of being within a team in an otherwise individual sport is extremely important for Ryder Cup preperation.

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Paul McGinley says the phycology of being within a team in an otherwise individual sport is extremely important for Ryder Cup preperation.

Paul McGinley says the phycology of being within a team in an otherwise individual sport is extremely important for Ryder Cup preperation.

“Obviously we came here to win and wanted to do it for each other,” Fleetwood said. “But the first thing I said at the start of the week was team-mates don’t remember if you play bad or miss a putt, but everyone remembers if you don’t give 100 per cent and I couldn’t have asked for any more.

“I wish we could have got it done, but you remember these moments forever and cherish them, and I’ve loved playing with my team-mates this week.

“Continental Europe clearly deserved it this week, they played the best golf. Some matches could have gone either way, but the winning team makes those moments count.”

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