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“We had to make birdies, and wow! Five in a row. It was awesome,” Poulter said. “I’ve got the world No. 1 at my side, backing me up. It allowed me to hit some golf shots.”

The crowd was still buzzing as it filed out of Medinah, and Poulter grinned.

“It’s pretty fun, this Ryder Cup,” said Poulter, who raised his career record to 11-3-0.

It’s been plenty fun for the Americans, who for the first time have not lost any of the four sessions since the Ryder Cup switched to the current format in 1979. Mickelson and Bradley were flawless in foursomes, matching a Ryder Cup record for largest margin with a 7-and-6 win over Donald and Lee Westwood.

Mickelson and Bradley have been so dominant that they have yet to play the 18th hole in any of their three matches. They didn’t play in the afternoon, part of the master plan by U.S. captain Davis Love III to make sure his players were fresh for Sunday. Love became the first U.S. captain since 1979 to make sure each of his players sat out at least one match before the final day.

Now, he finds out if it will work.

“We’re not disappointed,” Love said of the late rally by Europe. “We haven’t lost a segment yet, and we’re just going to try to keep that string going.”

Despite the last two matches that swung momentum away from them, the Americans only have to look at their 10-6 lead — their largest since it was 10½-5½ in 1981 — to realize how close they are to winning back that 17-inch gold trophy. They only need 14½ points to win. That translates to four wins and a halve in the 12 singles matches, traditionally an American strength.

And they have built this lead without getting a single point from Woods, who has lost his last five matches with Stricker in two Ryder Cups and a Presidents Cup.

“I’ve played well the last two afternoons and didn’t get a point,” Woods said. “It’s tough. Yesterday I made a bunch of birdies and today I made five on the back nine and it just wasn’t enough.”

His team has carried him along, though.

Watson and Simpson rolled to a 5-and-4 win in the afternoon, while Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar won for the second straight time in fourballs in a tight match. It was tied going to the par-3 17th, a daunting shot from an elevated tee to a narrow green guarded by water. Johnson hit 8-iron to 20 feet and poured in the birdie putt, setting off the loudest cheer of a raucous week outside Chicago. They halved the 18th for a 1-up win.

“Probably the loudest roar I’ve ever heard,” Johnson said. “In that situation, probably one of the best putts I’ve ever made.”

The Americans had a 5-3 lead to start the day, and it was critical for the Europeans to make inroads. Instead, they saw more American red on the scoreboards and heard endless cheers erupt from all corners of Medinah.

Leading the way was Bradley, the rock star of this Ryder Cup who was so fired up that he came out to the first tee well before his match to ask for noise. In alternate shot, the most difficult format, Bradley and Mickelson had six birdies in 10 holes, and their 7-and-6 win tied the Ryder Cup record last matched in 1991.

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