Americans edge clear on day one
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 The 38th Ryder Cup | Round One | 29 Sep 2012
The opening day of the 2012 Ryder Cup has seen the USA establish a two point lead over Europe, the difference coming when the Americans won the afternoon Fourball matches 3 – 1 after the morning Foursomes had been shared at two points each.
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell won the first match out on day one by a narrow one up margin over Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker after being up early in their match before falling 3 down through 12 holes. The Americans came back at the Europeans with birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th to square the match before a bogey at the final hole cost them the match.
The second match out went the way of the Americans but it was a see saw affair early on before Phil Mickelson and Bradley Keegan drew clear over the final few holes of their match against Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia to win 4&3.
Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari were ahead early in their match up against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson but again the Americans would prove too strong over the closing stages winning 3&2.
The final match of the morning would see Ian Poulter and Justin Rose hold out the formidable combination of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods. The Europeans were never behind although the Americans fought hard to the finish before going down 2&1.
So the teams were tied at 2 points each heading into the afternoon.
Both captains were keen to expose each of their team members to competition on day one and so the four players from each side who did not play in the morning matches got their chance in the afternoon Fourball matches.
First out was the European pairing of Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson against the Americans, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. It was a one sided affair with Hanson and Lawrie being six down through 8 holes. The Europeans won only one hole before going down 5&4.
McIlory and McDowell were given the chance to continue the momentum from their morning victory when they set out in the match against Mickelson and Bradley but unfortunately for the pair from Northern Ireland things would not work out that way. They never got a look in as the Americans struck early and stayed ahead throughout. For the Americans it was their second victory and ensured they would be kept together for tomorrow’s morning Foursomes.
Rose combined well with Poulter to win his morning match but his combination with Martin Kaymer was not so good, that pair going down to Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar after winning their opening hole. The final margin was 3&2 with Martin Kaymer struggling.
The final match out was perhaps the most anticptaed with the rested debutante, Nicolas Colsaerts, up against Stricker and Woods.
Colsaerts was simply stunning almost defying logic given that this was his first time at the Ryder Cup. He produced eight birdies and an eagle in his round but Woods was also very good with his seven birdies to keep the match alive till the very last hole. Woods putt from 20 feet at the last could have tied the match but although it looked in until the last foot it missed and the match went to the Westwood and Colsaerts by one hole. The standard of the golf was simply stunning.
So the Americans lead by two points with tomorrow’s Foursome matches next up.
Rose and Poulter will face Watson and Simpson in the opening match. Westwood and Donald face Bradley and Mickelson. Colsaerts and Garcia face Zach Johnson and Dufner and in the final match in the morning of day two McIlory and McDowell will tackle Furyk and Snedeker.
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