Europe will take a 5-3 lead into the second day of the 2014 Ryder Cup after a remarkable foursomes performance.
Trailing 2½-1½ after the morning fourballs, the Europeans won three of the afternoon matches, with Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia adding an unlikely half-point thanks to a grandstand finish in their match with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.
Here’s a brief re-cap of how each of the foursomes matches unfolded…
Ryder Cup :: Day 1 :: Foursomes
Lee Westwood & Jamie Donaldson
Won by 2 holes against
Jim Furyk & Matt Kuchar
Rookie Donaldson took to the Ryder Cup like ‘a duck to water’ according to playing partner Westwood after the duo teamed-up to take down experienced US duo Furyk and Kuchar. Four-under-par for their alternate shot round, the Europeans recovered from an earlier deficit to get their noses in front at the seventh and maintained their lead from there on in. “We played as well as we could,” acknowledged Welshman Donaldson. “It was a battle and quite an experience.”
Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson
won 2&1 against
Zach Johnson & Hunter Mahan
The No.5 and No.6 ranked players in the world respectively, Stenson and Rose combined to record their second win of the day with a hard-fought victory over Johnson and Mahan. Incredibly, the Swede and Englishman were never behind in either of their matches on the opening day of the 2014 Ryder Cup and lost just three – three! – holes in total. For Mahan, meanwhile, this was his third consecutive Ryder Cup defeat.
Rory McIlroy & Sergio Garcia
Rickie Fowler & Jimmy Walker
Two-down with two to play, it appeared as though McIlroy and Garcia were set to lose for the second time today. That was until Rory drained a monster putt on the 17th to cut the deficit to one and Garcia found the green with a stunning metalwood from the right rough at 18 to set up an eagle opportunity for his Northern Irish teammate. McIlroy was unable to convert it but, with Fowler’s approach finding the sand and Walker unable to escape to closer than 20 feet, a tap-in birdie for the Euros proved to be enough to secure an unlikely half. A half, that is, that probably felt more like a full point.
Graeme McDowell & Victor Dubuisson
won 3&2 against
Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley
A first-ever Ryder Cup defeat was inflicted on Mickelson and Bradley by an inspired McDowell and Dubuisson. The Northern Irish major winner and his enigmatic French playing partner were never behind as they took down the previously unstoppable American duo to round off a superb afternoon for the Europeans. The winning putt was converted by G-Mac, the hero of the 2010 match at Celtic Manor, but the former US Open was effusive in his praise of his partner. “I’m telling you guys,” he insisted. “This kid is the next big, big European player.”
Ryder Cup 2014 :: Stat of the Session
Jim Furyk's defeat this afternoon was the 18th of his Ryder Cup career. That tied the US record for losses... until Phil Mickelson racked his 19th career loss.