KILLENARD, Ireland, Sep 27 (Reuters) Swedes Robert Karlsson and Peter Hanson earned the first point for Continental Europe in the Seve Trophy match today.
Karlsson, with five birdies in the first seven holes, and Hanson, overcame Scots Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren three and one in the first of two days of fourballs, to give Europe the lead over the Britain and Ireland team.
In front of a sparse gallery, Karlsson struck the first telling blow by chipping in at the opening hole before Montgomerie matched his birdie with a 10-foot putt.
With the Swedes dovetailing admirably, marching 11-under between them by the 15th, only a desperate birdie putt of eight feet by Warren, one of Nick Faldo's two wild cards, kept the match alive.
Seve Ballesteros was soon able to celebrate his opening point, however, as Britain and Ireland bogeyed the short 17th.
On a subdued opening day when Irish fans, disappointed at not being able to follow a home player in the matches, stayed away, Europe held the upper hand as the remaining four matches stood all-square.
Britain and Ireland's top men Justin Rose, at 13th the highest world-ranked player on view, and Paul Casey, second-highest world-placed, struggled.
Rose, making a return to Europe from the US PGA Tour, and fellow Englishman Oliver Wilson were two down to Austrian Markus Brier and Finn Mikko Ilonen, who chipped in at the 12th to double his side's lead.
Casey needed a lesson from Faldo after finding water three times in the first six holes. He and fellow Englishman, wild-card Simon Dyson, were also two down, with Frenchmen Raphael Jacquelin and Gregory Havret in charge by the 13th.
Bradley Dredge of Wales and Englishman Phillip Archer were two up on Spaniards Miguel Angel Jimenez and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano after 15. Englishmen Nick Dougherty and Graeme Storm were one up on Danes Thomas Bjorn and Soren Hansen after 13 holes.
Reuters PDS DB2245