- Associated Press - Friday, September 28, 2012

MEDINAH, ILL. (AP) - The Ryder Cup might be golf’s most pressure-packed stage, but it hardly frightened this bunch.

Four of the five rookies on the U.S. team contributed to the Americans’ 5-3 lead on opening day. And without Nicholas Colsaerts’ one-man show _ he made eight birdies and an eagle on his own ball _ the Europeans would have been shut out in the afternoon session.

“Well, everybody called them rookies, but they’re proven Tour winners and FedEx Cup winners and guys that have played very, very well lately,” U.S. captain Davis Love III said. “So we weren’t considering them rookies, except in the Ryder Cup.”

Keegan Bradley looked like an old hand while winning twice with playing partner Phil Mickelson in tow. Only Brandt Snedeker, who opened the day as Jim Furyk’s partner in the first alternate-shot match, came away empty-handed.

“We showed a little nerves this morning right out of the box,” Love said.

Not so for Colsaerts, who made eight birdies and an eagle in his match with Lee Westwood against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

“He had one of those days that he will remember for the rest of his life,” said European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, probably wishing he had another rookie or two to call on.


SERGIO‘S FIRST LOSS: Sergio Garcia lost his match and his unbeaten streak.

The Spaniard brought an 8-0-1 mark in foursomes into Friday morning’s match against Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, and he and partner Luke Donald were 4-0 when paired together. But the Europeans fell 4 and 3, losing control of the match on the ninth hole when Donald’s birdie putt lipped out. They fell behind when another putt lipped out on 12, giving them their first bogey of the day, and the Americans won four straight holes to clinch the match.

“We had our chances,” Garcia said. “We had a couple of key holes, 9 and 12 probably, where we had two big lip-outs from Luke. Then they just got on a run of birdies toward the end, and we weren’t able to keep up.”

Garcia has lost three of his last four Ryder Cup matches. He missed the 2010 event, mired in a two-year slump.

“What I’m most disappointed about is that I didn’t get a point or at least half a point for my team,” Garcia said. “I’ve told you over and over again, if you want to talk about records, you probably need to ask the other team. The only record we care about is the team record.”


PLAYING BY THE BOOK: Both European captain Jose Maria Olazabal and his American counterpart, Davis Love III, came into the Ryder Cup with a plan. And both, apparently, are sticking to it.

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