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Vivendi Seve Trophy 2011: John McGinley’s Great Britain & Ireland team hold on to beat Continental Europe

At the climax of five hours of gnawing tension, it fell to one self-effacing soul from Worksop to wrap up a sixth consecutive British and Irish triumph in the Vivendi Seve Trophy. Lee Westwood?

“It could have been a five-putt,” he conceded. “I just had a spell where I lost the pace of the greens.”

But out of such embarrassment did he find the resolve to recover, dousing Jacquelin’s resistance to earn the victory — and an extravagant embrace from mother Irene.

The experience of playing behind Ian Poulter, who enriched his reputation as the consummate matchplay tactician with a one-hole win over Italy’s Matteo Manassero, had visibly drained him.

“It was a lot more intense than I thought it was going to be,” Foster said. “Europe knocked us about, but Poulter had the look of a killer all week.”

Foster commanded top billing for Great Britain and Ireland on a day when the neophytes comfortably eclipsed the more seasoned hands.

Westwood, Simon Dyson, Jamie Donaldson, Robert Rock and Darren Clarke all succumbed in a procession of early losses to leave the lower order clinging on to a slender lead.

Ultimately, the half for fast-improving David Horsey against Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts — not to mention Scott Jamieson’s last-gasp point at the expense of Pablo Larrazábal — proved pivotal.

So unheralded is Jamieson, a Glaswegian ranked 163rd in the world, that Westwood admitted he had never met him before this tussle in the Forest of Marly. “I was looking around in the team room and I thought, ‘Who’s that?’ Then I figured it must be Scott.”

For McGinley, this second win as captain reinforced his candidacy to lead Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. But questions hover over his management of the singles, where the continentals were once more allowed to mount a dramatic late riposte.

In particular, his tactic of sending out Dyson, Donaldson and Rock in a cluster at the top of the order — purely on the pretext that they were friends — backfired horribly as all suffered heavy defeats.

“That’s the first thing I have in my notebook, with a big star besides it,” McGinley acknowledged. “The strength of this team is not necessarily experience.”

He could say that again. Clarke, the most wizened campaigner of all, endured a miserable competition, picking up one win all week before being vanquished 4&2 by Miguel Ángel Jiménez.

Jean Van de Valde, the losing captain and tragic-comic hero of the 1999 Open, deserved plaudits for inspiring such a revival from his side but expressed doubt about the balance of the contest, arguing that he had to manage a far greater array of nationalities, attitudes and temperaments.

Not least his own peculiarly Gallic knack for gripping theatre.

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