Saturday, September 27, 2014




Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson fired an amazing ten birdies in succession to claim a third straight win and increase Europe's lead in The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
USA "won" the Saturday morning four-balls 
2 1/2-1 1/2 and so had clipped a point off their two-point overnight deficit with the overall scorline now reading Europe 6 1/2, United States 5 1/2
After two victories on the opening day, Rose and Stenson were sent out first in the Saturday four-balls by Captain Paul McGinley and responded with a stunning display of golf to beat Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar 3 and 2.
The home pair were 12 under par for 16 holes and their American opponents nine under in defeat in a brilliant contest as the players revelled in the calmer conditions.
Rose and Stenson had not trailed at any point on Friday but recovered from losing the opening hole and falling two down after six, despite McGinley revealing Stenson had been struggling with an ongoing back problem.
"We have a little bit of an issue at the moment with Henrik," McGinley said. "He's got a tight back, he's had it for quite a while. He's played a lot of golf, I'm aware of that and we are monitoring him closely today and will make a decision in the afternoon."
Stenson later said he would be resting for the afternoon.
Back issue or not, Stenson started the recovery with a birdie on the seventh and Rose birdied the next to get the home pair back on level terms.
Both players birdied the par five ninth and Rose birdied the tenth and 11th as well, although that was only good enough to stay level in a match of the highest quality.
Stenson's birdie on the 12th took Europe ahead for the first time - Rose was also within five feet of the hole - and another Rose birdie on the next put them two ahead.
Stenson maintained that advantage by matching Watson's birdie on the 14th and the Swede looked to have struck a decisive blow when his approach to the next left a tap-in, only for Kuchar to hole from 30 feet across the green for a half.
However, Rose produced another superb pitch to three feet on the par five 16th to set up that tenth straight birdie which was good enough to secure a welcome win, with Europe trailing in the other three matches.

The Ryder Cup history books will record the match as a 3 and 2 win for Europe but in reality that does an incredible disservice to Rose and Stenson's Saturday morning four-balls victory.
Yes, there have been greater iconic moments, there have been plenty more high-pressure situations, but in terms of overall quality it is difficult to recollect a match which possessed so much.
Each pair matched each other birdie for birdie, much like two heavyweight boxers slugging it out in a world title fight - only this contest was all about precision, finesse and the ability to produce at exactly the right moment.
They recorded 21 birdies between them - a new Ryder Cup record - with the 211 yard par three fourth the only hole on the Gleneagles PGA Centenary course where none of the players could manage better than par.
"We have those rare moments in the game and I think Ryder Cup is amazing because the pressure is so much that you have one choice, you either focus or you struggle. Obviously I went the right way with it all today," said Rose.
Europe's duo, led impressively by Rose, were 12 under for their 16 holes - another record for the event - but it was the way the Englishman in particular responded to everything the United States pair of Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson threw at them early on.

They were not ahead until the 12th, when Stenson stole his partner's thunder by holing a 15 foot putt having watched Rose drill a mid-iron to four feet, but once they got in front they never released their grip.
But there was no chance of them coasting home as the Americans ensured there was no drop in the high standards they had set themselves by twice halving holes with birdies.
Kuchar set the tone by beating Rose to a birdie at the opening hole but the Englishman's six-footer at the second was the first of seven he would put on his car
It was not just the scoring but the air of certainty Rose exuded whenever he stood over a putt.
Putt after putt dropped - most of Rose's were from outside ten feet - and when the end came Europe had birdied ten in a row.
"Twenty-one birdies in 16 holes between us, that's something special," said Stenson.
"It might be a highlight to put on the big screen with the grandkids one day."
Bubba Watson, four under for his own round, could only marvel at the spectacle.
"We probably would have beaten all the other European pairings - just our luck we  had to play against Justin and Henrik in this form," he said.
With Stenson reduced to a spectator, the problems began to mount for Europe as Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan beat Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson 4 and 3, the European pair recording five birdies between them and failing to win a single hole.
Thomas Bjørn and Martin Kaymer had been two up on rookie pair Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed after three holes but had failed to record a birdie since the seventh hole and duly lost 5 and 3 to make the match score 6-5 to the home side.
All eyes were now on the bottom match, with Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter one down with four to play against Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.
Fowler looked set to move two up after a superb approach to the 15th, only for Poulter to hole his pitch from short of the green to claim an unlikely half and spark a typical celebration that had been lacking so far.
But whatever the result of the match, Poulter would not be playing again in the foursomes with McGinley sending out Donaldson and Westwood again, Garcia alongside McIlroy and Kaymer with Rose, while Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell were again in the final match.
US Captain Tom Watson left out Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley once more, opting to go with Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, Furyk and Mahan, Spieth and Reed and Walker and Fowler.
Poulter may have been late in coming to the party, but he seemed determined to make up for it, a birdie on the par five 16th - with McIlroy also in close - enough to get the match back to all square after Fowler duffed his pitch from short of the green.
The 17th and 18th holes were halved for the last match on the course to finish all square.
USA "won" the Saturday morning four-balls 2 1/2 to 1 1/2
United States had thus halved their overnight deficit of 2pt and were only 1pt in arrears going into the Saturday afternoon foursomes.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google