Tournament: Hero Cup
Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Hashtag: #HeroCup #DPWT

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 14: Nicolai Hojgaard and Francesco Molinari of the Continental Europe team looks on during the morning foursomes on Day Two of the Hero Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 14, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari helped to extend his Continental Europe team’s advantage over Great Britain and Ireland after returning two points from two alongside Nicolai Højgaard at the Hero Cup.

The duo defeated Callum Shinkwin and Matt Wallace 3&1 in the morning foursomes before beating Ewen Ferguson and Richard Mansell 2&1 in the first match of the afternoon foursomes session to help Continental Europe to a 8 ½ – 6 ½ advantage at the end of day two at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Guido Migliozzi and Victor Perez also contributed a two-point return as they first won 3&2 against Irish pair Shane Lowry and Séamus Power, the latter of whom was joined by Robert MacIntyre in the afternoon, but they were still unable to avoid a 2&1 defeat to the Italian and French pairing.

Great Britain and Ireland Captain Tommy Fleetwood was the fifth player to emerge from day two with a 100 per cent record as he and Tyrrell Hatton first secured a 1up victory against Thomas Detry and Sepp Straka, before he and countryman Jordan Smith won 2&1 against Alex Noren and Thomas Pieters.  
The morning session ended in a tie as Noren and Pieters halved the opening match of the day against Ferguson and Mansell, while MacIntyre and Smith’s 1up victory against Adrian Meronk and Antoine Rozner ensured the shares were spoiled.

Multiple DP World Tour winners Meronk and Rozner were also defeated in the afternoon session, going down 2&1 as Wallace holed a good birdie putt on the 17th hole to earn a point alongside countryman Shinkwin.

The only match to reach the 18th in the afternoon was the match-up between Great Britain and Ireland’s Hatton and Lowry and Continental Europe’s Detry and Straka. The European pair’s 1up defeat in the morning was reversed in the afternoon as Detry sunk a 52-foot birdie putt on the 17th to take the lead before matching their opponents’ birdie four at the last.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 14: Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton of Great Britain & Ireland team looks on after finishing their match play on the 18th Hole during the morning foursomes on Day Two of the Hero Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 14, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Player Quotes

Tommy Fleetwood: “It was great, actually. I think golf-wise, and it always is going to be really a tale of two different sessions. In the morning, there was some amazing golf played and literally as guys start fatiguing and they have to get themselves back up for the afternoon, the standard of golf changes and it’s more mistakes, and it’s really important to keep your body language up and push all the way to the end. I was proud of how our guys did that.

“A couple of matches could have gone either way. We ended the day two points behind, but two points behind is fine and we have a full, single session to go. We can reflect on today and we’ll all sit in the team room and we’ll be talking about our rounds and everything, but overall we go out and get a fast start tomorrow, we’re straight back in the game.

“I loved it. I thought me and Shane were going to win when we had three holes left yesterday. I thought we played well enough all day, really, to get a point.

“And then today, two really solid sessions and happy with how I played personally for my teammates for the two guys that I played with. I felt good about sort of helping them out and not putting them in too much tricky situations. That’s always the first part in foursomes you always feel really good about. You always have pride in taking your individual points and adding that to the team score but again, I’m very proud to be leading this team and I’m enjoying every moment of it. We’ll come together tomorrow, it’s much more an individual day. I think we can all get ready for that, myself included, and look forward to that.

Francesco Molinari: “We have had an amazing day, the two of us (Nicolai Højgaard). I didn’t really know him much before this week. We played together I think once at the Italian Open last year. Obviously got in the team sort of last minute, but he’s been absolutely amazing.

“I think all the matches have been really close so far which is great to see. It’s definitely a really competitive, fair spirit. I think it’s been a great success so far. Obviously to make it a success for us, my team, we need to go out tomorrow and play some really good golf.

“It’s going to be different. I think obviously all of us, we are going to miss our teammates a little bit but on the other hand, next week we are back to stroke play, four rounds. Obviously it’s a good way to transition back into being a bit more individualistic and just try to win or halve your game.”

Victor Perez: “I don’t know. I think obviously great fortune, good play. It’s never easy. I felt like we got off to a good start today, but you’re expecting birdies and pars in foursomes against great players. We are fortunate to come out on top on 17.

“I think it’s just like you have the weight of the people, you have the weight of the team but on the back end you have the strength of the people and the strength of the team. You can take advantage and disadvantages from both sides and both scenarios. Today the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantage.”

Guido Migliozzi: “I mean, I love it. It’s good because we feel the pressure because it’s not just us players on the course. It’s the whole team. This final hole, every team was here watching us playing, and we felt crazy. It’s something beautiful. A part of the fortune, we played solid and it’s good to be here and play golf.

“It’s a tough day. Everybody is on the course and trying to win a point. Just can’t wait to be back on the course.”

Matt Wallace: “These matches are so hard, we have been playing great. We actually played really nice golf this week and we are 1 1/2 points to get a win for the golf we’ve been playing is probably the least we could have got. It’s so nice and to do it alongside my mate. It’s been really good.

Callum Shinkwin: “This morning, they just played better on the back nine at the end of the day, and nothing you can do about that. All you’ve got to do is just recover after your round and just go again.”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 14: Guido Migliozzi of Italy and Continental Europe team celebrates after winning their match play on the 17th hole during the afternoon foursomes on Day Two of the Hero Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 14, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)