Gleneagles: Europe claimed a 5-3 lead after the first two sessions of the 40th Ryder Cup, despite their star trio of Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter contributing just half a point. But that half a point could be worth far more to the final outcome given the miraculous way it was achieved on a rollercoaster day at Gleneagles.
Rickie Fowler of Team US (left) shakes hands with Rory McIlroy on the 18th green at the end of their halved foursome match. Pic/AFP.
In the fourballs, Poulter suffered the biggest defeat of his Ryder Cup career, and first in eight matches, with a 5&4 loss alongside Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher to rookie pair Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, while McIlroy and Garcia lost on the 18th to Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
European captain Paul McGinley kept faith with his top-ranked duo in the foursomes and they looked set for another defeat at two down with two to play against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker. However, World No 1 McIlroy then holed from 35 feet for a birdie on the 17th and Garcia smashed a brilliant approach from the rough onto the par-five 18th to set up another to strike a major psychological blow for the home side.
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson had already secured their second win of the day, beating Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2&1, while Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson shrugged off missing the morning session to beat Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar on the 18th.