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There was nothing Woods could do against Colsaerts, the biggest hitter in Europe who isn’t too bad with the putter, either.

“Nicolas probably had one of the greatest putting rounds I’ve ever seen,” Woods said, high praise coming from a 14-time major champion.

Woods turned in a mixed performance. He missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 15th to fall 2 down, and then came back with a bending, 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th and a shot into 4 feet on the 17th that looked as if it might square the match. Instead, Colsaerts rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt for a halve. Woods had a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th to halve the match, only it caught the left lip.

“We ran into a guy who made everything today,” Woods said. “I don’t know what he shot. He was like 7 under through 10. I quit counting after that.”

Love said he told Woods and Stricker they would be sitting out the foursomes matches Saturday morning, “and I can guarantee you, neither one of them are very happy about it. Not because they are sitting out; because they have to wait till tomorrow afternoon to come back.”

Both captains made sure all 12 of their players got into the game early, though European captain Jose Maria Olazabal set himself up for second-guessing when he sat out Donald, Garcia and Poulter for the afternoon matches. They have a combined 31-13-5 record in the Ryder Cup.

Olazabal put Donald and Westwood together for Saturday morning, while Colsaerts will play with Garcia. McIlroy and McDowell will play for a third time, although the Spanish captain said the pairings were not the problem.

“I’m going to make it clear to the boys that they need to step it up,” he said. “They need to play better golf, simple as that. There is no secret about this game. You have to make more birdies than your opponent. And if you don’t do that, you’re going to struggle.”

Mickelson set an American record by playing in his ninth Ryder Cup, and he won his opening two matches for the first time in his career. Mickelson came up with some big putts and amazing shots, and the 42-year-old felt about 10 years younger playing alongside Bradley.

“I felt young,” Mickelson said. “And it felt great.”

Europe has won six of the last eight times in the Ryder Cup, and it wasn’t about to hang its head after one day. It was leading all four of the opening matches early Friday under a gloomy sky. The sun came out, and the Americans came to life.

“There’s a long way to go in this tournament,” Rose said. “There’s ebbs and flows. Obviously, there’s momentum for the U.S. team right now, but that could all swing back in our favor tomorrow.”

Even so, the Americans headed to their team room full of confidence. It won five of eight matches without getting a point from Woods, and they picked up a little extra momentum when Mickelson and Bradley took down McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world.

The Ryder Cup again lived up to its billing as the most exciting tournament in golf with relentless action, huge swings in momentum and endless cheers.

Bubba Watson asked the crowd to keep chanting and cheering when he stepped to the tee for his afternoon fourballs with Webb Simpson, and the Masters champion belted his drive down the middle, raising his driver to play to the crowd. Then, the Americans did a number of Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson, going 6 up through eight holes and closing them out on the 14th hole.

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