Ian Poulter proves to be the driving force in dominant British and Irish display in Vivendi Seve Trophy

Echoes of the Spaniard’s flamboyance abound in his own space-age home in Orlando, where he keeps the winning ball that Ballesteros gave him after a victory at Woburn in 1991. On Thursday night he could regard his decision to compete in the Vivendi Seve Trophy, deep in this pretty corner of the Paris banlieue, as an astute one after he and his British and Irish team-mates surged into a 4-1 lead over Continental Europe.

In matchplay, Poulter is a natural hub, an ebullient force around which the spirit of Paul McGinley’s side can coalesce. It matters not one iota that this event is an appreciably lower key version of the Ryder Cup, when the satisfaction of a team triumph beckons in the year of Ballesteros’s passing.By his own admission he has endured a rotten season, failing to advance beyond the second round of the FedEx Cup play-offs in the US. But having accepted José María Olazábal’s invitation to play, he achieves his catharsis as part of a collective.

A 5 & 3 win with Robert Rock, against Denmark’s Alexander Noren and an in-form Thomas Bjorn, left him as bullish as ever. “Matchplay’s fun, with the chance to get everybody revved up,” Poulter said. “You look at our opponents’ world rankings and they are much stronger than ours, so a 4-1 scoreline is huge.”What insights did he believe it gave into the state of British golf, just over a year out from the next Ryder Cup in Chicago? “It says that it’s pretty good shape.” – Telegraph