Friday, September 26, 2014


Europe produced a stirring fightback in the afternoon foursomes to establish a 5-3 lead after day one of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Perthshire today.
The hosts had looked well placed in the morning four-balls as Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson ran out 5 and 4 winners over Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson in the first match of the biennial contest.
But Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher lost by the same margin to rookies Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, before Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth snatched a half from Thomas Björn and Martin Kaymer on the 18th green. having trailed for the entire contest after losing three of the first four holes.
In the highly-anticipated anchor game Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia led with three holes to play, but a brilliant approach to the 16th saw Keegan Bradley square the contest with an eagle, and Phil Mickelson birdied the last to leave Paul McGinley’s side trailing 2 ½ - 1 ½ after the morning session.
Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood took the opening foursomes game of the afternoon against Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar by a two-hole margin, before the irrepressible Rose and Stenson saw off Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2 and 1.
Garcia and McIlroy then turned the tables with a comeback of their own against Fowler and Walker despite the World Nos 1 and 3  struggling from the tee for much of the afternoon.
McIlroy induced a huge cheer from the crowd when his 40ft birdie putt at the 17th took the contest down the last, but when his drive at the 18th struck a tree the European pair were staring at a second defeat of the day.
However, Garcia produced a majestic second – bending a hybrid 230 yards from the rough around a tree and to 20 feet, from where two putts were enough to snatch an unlikely half.
Bradley and Mickelson could not mount a second comeback of the day, as Victor Dubuisson enjoyed an impressive debut alongside Graeme McDowell, the European pair winning 3 and 2.
Speaking about the dramatic finish, McIlroy said: "We needed it, we really did. We were making life difficult for ourselves out there. I don't think either of us was playing from the fairways very much.
"We just wanted to ask them a question and get them going and we were able to do that. And Sergio had the shot of the day at the last. It was big, and at least we got something out of the day. We played two really tough matches and we have half a point to show for it."
Garcia added: "We knew we weren't playing well. We fought as hard as we could. Half a point is just huge."
McGinley echoed that sentiment, adding: "That was probably as good as a win, to come back from where they were."



Europe's Ryder Cup talisman Ian Poulter insisted he would shrug off a first defeat in eight matches but would have to wait a while to get the loss out of his system.
Paired with rookie Stephen Gallacher the duo never really got going and were beaten 5 and 4 by United States debutants Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, having been six down with seven to play.

It was a significant blow landed by the Americans - inflicting Poulter's heaviest defeat in the event - against a player they had targeted from the off as he had been Europe's leading points scorer in the last three events and sparked the miraculous comeback at Medinah two years ago.
"There are a few guys on our team that specifically would like to match up against Ian," said Spieth.

"There are a few guys that came up and told us that they are very jealous that we had them today.
"But whatever it is, past history or just the fact that he's known as being The Ryder Cup wizard for the Europeans, he's certainly not under our skin because we haven't dealt with him before."
Because of his heroics in Medinah, Poulter was held up as being Europe's leading light at Gleneagles but the 38 year old has been keen to stress there is much more to it than that.
"Obviously my record has been pretty good so taking a dent this morning I can shrug that off and look forward to tomorrow," said the Englishman.
"Obviously it's a loss on the board, whether that be 5 and 4 or one down, but I don't look at it as a heavy loss, I just look at it as a loss.
"Ryder Cup is very black or white. It's very simple: You lose or you win.
"I said to Stevie walking off the golf course when I played with Darren Clarke in 2004 we had our butts kicked the first time I ever played (losing 4 and 3 to Tiger Woods and Chris Riley) and obviously we've had that today. But you know what, things can change very quickly.
"This is a team game and they have to beat 12 of us. It's not just about singling one or two guys out.
"This is about us digging in when we need to and that's exactly what we need to do as a team.
"Me personally, I need to hole a few more putts and that's what I didn't do.

"I left a few putts short, which is very frustrating, but this is a strong team and a team that you'll see fight very hard right till the end."
Poulter was rested for the afternoon foursomes and he said that was the plan all along by Captain Paul McGinley.
"I knew I wasn't playing this afternoon. It's very difficult to play everybody in five matches in the Ryder Cup," he added.
"We need to keep the team as fresh as possible and make sure everyone gets a good rotation and a good amount of games.
"I knew I wasn't playing five coming in this week, and I probably didn't want to play five coming into this week.
"Not many people have been able to play five and win five and the reason for that is because it's very tiring.
"I'm 38; we've got some younger pups on the team that might be able to do it better than I can.
"If my role is to play twice or three or four or five times then I will go out there and do whatever I'm asked to do."




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