• Clarke ‘massively proud’ of team after fightback
• 0-4 deficit turned into 3-5 after opening day’s play
• “The golf was scintillating” says European captain
Wins for Henrik Stenson Stenson and Justin Rose, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia, and Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters changed the complexion of a match that, after the foursomes, appeared to be quickly unravelling for the Europeans.
Now, though, they trail only 5-3 and, crucially, have all the momentum ahead of the second day’s play, much to the delight of their skipper Clarke.
“I’m massively proud of them all,” said the Northern Irishman. “We were bitterly disappointed at lunchtime. They just didn’t play the way we all know they can but, in saying that, America did. That’s the beauty of matchplay golf. The guys came out this afternoon and, being behind as far as we were, to put in a performance like that? I couldn’t be more proud of them. The golf was scintillating. They gave everything this afternoon and it means an awful lot.
“They have accepted everything that’s going on because we’re a team” – Darren Clarke
“Even the other guys that haven’t been playing thus far. They have accepted everything that’s going on because we’re a team and everybody is a part of it. My big thing this week has been for us to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ and that’s what they’re doing. It just shows how strong the guys are to come out and put in that performance this afternoon.”
Clarke’s opposite number, Davis Love III, above, was philosophical after seeing his team’s early advantage halved by Europe’s afternoon salvo.
“We had a great morning; they had a great afternoon,” he said. “Thankfully, we got a point out of it but, you know, we played good and shot low scores. We just got beat by a team that was playing unbelievable golf. Everybody on our team was under-par, so we didn’t play bad. We just didn’t play great, whereas their team did.”
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