Nicolai Hojgaard and Francesco Molinari bagged a point for the Continental Europe team

Hero Cup set for Sunday showdown in Abu Dhabi

Continental Europe captain Francesco Molinari helped to extend his 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.

GB&I 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.

Guido Migliozzi won two points for his Continental Europe team on Saturday

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 GB&I’d 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.

Molinari said: ““I think all the matches have been really close so far, which is great to see. It’s definitely a really competitive, fair spirit. Obviously to make it a success for us, my team need to go out tomorrow and play some really good golf. t’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.”

Fleetwood added:  “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 session of 10 singles matches to go. If we go out and get a fast start tomorrow, we’re straight back in the game. I’m very proud to be leading this team and I’m enjoying every moment of it.”

To see the full draw for Sunday’s singles matches, click here