Europe leads the U.S. in all four matches during early play at the Ryder Cup, golf’s top international team competition.
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, both of Northern Ireland, hold a 1-up lead on Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker through nine holes at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago.
Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia lead by one hole, or 1-up, through seven holes in their match with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley; Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari lead Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner 1-up through seven; and Englishmen Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are 1-up on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker through five holes.
The event began today with foursomes. Players in each two- man team take alternate shots with the same ball, with the lowest score winning the hole.
The afternoon session will feature fourballs, in which each golfer in the two-man teams plays his own ball, with the lowest individual score winning the hole.
The U.S. team features five of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, while four of the European golfers are ranked among the top five.
The U.S. is a 4-6 favorite at U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes Plc (LAD), meaning a successful $6 bet will return $4 plus the original stake. Europe is 6-4.
Europe has won three of the past four editions of the Ryder Cup, including a one-point victory in 2010 at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales.
While the U.S. team features four Ryder Cup rookies, they don’t lack experience.
Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open in June, Bradley won last year’s PGA Championship and Snedeker secured last week’s Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title. Only Dufner, who lost to Bradley in a playoff at the PGA, doesn’t have a significant victory, although he won PGA Tour events in New Orleans and Texas this year.
Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium is the only European player without Ryder Cup experience.
There will be another day of foursomes and fourballs tomorrow before the final 12 singles matches on Sept. 30. The U.S. needs 14 1/2 of the possible 28 points to win back the cup, while Europe needs 14 points to retain it.
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