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Ryder Cup 2012: Big days from Bradley, Bubba give U.S. 5-3 lead
Question of the Day
Matt Kuchar ran off four straight birdies as he and Dustin Johnson built an early lead against Rose and Martin Kaymer.
The only rookie who didn’t deliver a point was FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker, though it wasn’t from a lack of effort. Snedeker and Furyk were 3 down through 12 holes against McIlroy and McDowell in the morning when they put together a furious rally, with Furyk carrying the bulk of the load. They squared the match going to the 18th when Snedeker hit a drive toward the hospitality tents well right of the fairway, and Furyk couldn’t convert a 20-foot par putt to halve the match.
But it was a sign of the American fight.
Bradley was at his best on the par-3 13th, perhaps the toughest tee shot because it was long and into the wind, requiring a hybrid. He hit it to 15 feet left of the flag, and as the crowd chanted, “USA! USA!” Bradley nodded at them repeatedly.
Mickelson, who first played in these matches in 1995, smiled and gently patted him on the back to let him soak up the moment. Lefty then holed the birdie putt for a 2-up lead, and Garcia missed a 3 1/2-foot par putt on the next hole. It was the Spaniard’s first loss in 10 foursomes matches dating to 1999.
Bradley was so into the moment that his focus was broken walking up the 15th hole when he spotted fans holding a large American flag on the left side of the gallery. He jogged over to them for high-fives, waited for Mickelson to play a wedge into the green, and then holed the 25-foot birdie putt.
“There’s a simple reason why Keegan is perfect for the Ryder Cup,” Mickelson said. “The more pressure the situation, the better he plays, the better he sees the shot, the better he focuses. And the better the result. As a player, you feel more pressure and intensity during these matches than you do at any other event.
“And that’s when he’s at his best.”
Jason Dufner, another American rookie, actually showed some emotion with a tiny fist pump when his 15-foot birdie putt on the ninth stopped next to the cup, then dropped in the left side. Dufner made birdie on the next hole for a foursomes win with Zach Johnson over Westwood and Francesco Molinari.
Poulter holed a bunker shot, a long birdie putt and a clutch par putt from 7 feet on the 16th hole that carried he and Rose to victory over Woods and Stricker. Poulter has lost only three times in 12 matches in his Ryder Cup career. Two of those had been to Woods.
“I never wanted to have another one,” Poulter said.
Next up is another long day of foursomes and fourballs, a chance for Europe to get back in the game going into the Sunday singles.
“Oh, baby,” Bradley said. “I wish we could go 36 more.”
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