A late surge has given the European team momentum going into the final day of play against the U.S. at golf’s Ryder Cup.
The Europeans, trailing the Americans 6-4, were ahead in all six matches in progress when play was halted by darkness last night in Newport, Wales. The golfers will return at 7:45 a.m. today to finish the third session before 12 scheduled singles matches.
“It was a very important two hours of play and we came through with flying colors,” Europe captain Colin Montgomerie told reporters yesterday. “We’ve got to keep going and keep this momentum going.”
Today’s forecast calls for clouds with periods of rain likely, and a high temperature of 13 degrees Fahrenheit (55 Celsius), according to mobileweather.com.
A seven-hour rain delay two days ago has pushed the schedule back. The opening fourball matches had to be completed yesterday morning and were followed by six foursome matches. The U.S. needs 14 points to keep the trophy it won in 2008, while the hosts need 14 ½ to extend the American’s overseas losing streak.
Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are four holes up on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker after nine holes and Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy have a three-hole lead on Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan after seven holes in the foursome, or alternate shot, matches.
In the fourballs, where golfers play their own balls with the lowest score winning the hole, Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher lead Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson by one hole after eight holes, and Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez are two holes ahead of Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton after six.
“We’re not in a position we want to be in,” U.S. captain Corey Pavin said yesterday. “We have to go out tomorrow and turn it around.”
Teams get one points for winning a match and a half-point for a tie.
Earlier yesterday, Woods and Stricker routed Jimenez and Hanson. The Americans won three and tied one of the six foursome matches to extend their lead.
The teams of Harrington and Fisher, along with Poulter and Donald, were victorious for Europe.
Woods and Stricker won by four holes with three to play, or 4 and 3, to continue their perfect partnership. The two are now 6-0 after winning all four matches at last year’s Presidents Cup, when the U.S. takes on an international squad.
“We are comfortable with one another and I think that’s the biggest thing,” Stricker said. “We gel well together and hopefully we can do it some more.”
Johnson and Mahan birdied the final two holes to beat the Molinari brothers, while Fowler earned a tie in his match by making a birdie at 18.
Already down a hole, Fowler cost his team the fourth after being given a free drop following Furyk’s pulled tee shot. Fowler took out another ball, violating the rule that the same ball must be played.
“I basically dropped the wrong ball,” he said. “It was the same ball that I had in my pocket and was laying in the mud. It was nice to have that putt for a halve.”
Harrington and Fisher easily beat Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 3 and 2, Donald and Poulter scored a 2 and 1 win over Watson and Overton.
In the opening fourballs, Woods and Stricker, along with Watson and Overton, won for the U.S. Westwood and Kaymer beat Mickelson and Johnson, while McIlroy and McDowell tied Cink and Kuchar.
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