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Britain and Ireland hold slim 3-2 lead

VERSAILLES, France -- Britain and Ireland
held a slender 3-2 advantage over Continental Europe after
Thursday's opening fourball session in the Vivendi Trophy team
event.

Debutants Anthony Wall and Chris Wood set the ball rolling
for captain Paul McGinley with an overwhelming 6 & 5 victory
over Swedes Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson.

Karlsson was playing his first competitive round in four
months after suffering retinal problems in his left eye.

Although last year's European No. 1 was the more
successful of the two Swedes, the duo had no answer to Wall's
tally of one eagle and three birdies and the four birdies by the
21-year-old Wood as the Englishmen dovetailed perfectly.

"You could see Robert was rusty and you've got to feel for
him because he is such an awesome player," Wall told reporters.

"Hopefully he'll get better and better again because Europe
need him [in the 2010 Ryder Cup]."

Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell added the
second point for Britain and Ireland as they overcame big-hitter
Alvaro Quiros of Spain and Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen 4 & 3.

Anders Hansen of Denmark and Italy's Francesco Molinari
stopped the rot for skipper Thomas Bjorn's men by seeing off
Englishmen Robert Rock and Steve Webster 4 & 3, a dominant
Hansen picking up seven birdies.

Simon Dyson, who shrugged off a mild bout of food poisoning,
and Oliver Wilson were another pair to combine well as they
overcame Dane Soren Hansen and Swede Peter Hanson 3 & 2.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, a former Lancome Trophy winner at the
hosting St Nom la Breteche course, and fellow Spaniard Gonzalo
Fernandez-Castano then beat Englishmen Ross Fisher and Nick
Dougherty 2 & 1.

"Chris Wood and Anthony Wall were a big surprise today,
beating Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson so emphatically. That
was a great boost for us," McGinley told reporters.

"But Rory and Graeme are leading my charge to the trophy,
that was always my plan. They were my first pair out and were
brilliant.

"They are definitely a potential Ryder Cup pairing for next
year and perhaps for many more years," added McGinley.

Bjorn said his players appeared nervous before the start.
"I know they are all experienced but the opening ceremony,
sitting around [for three days] ... before they started seemed
to affect our team," said the Dane.

"At one time it looked as though it would be a bit of a
disaster. I told Miguel and Gonzalo on the eighth 'we need a
point from you two' and they responded.

"The spirit is good when you consider a couple of them took
a beating and we're not trailing by much," added Bjorn.