- Associated Press - Friday, September 28, 2012

MEDINAH, ILL. (AP) - Capsules from Friday’s matches in the Ryder Cup:



Europe 2, United States 2

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, Europe, def. Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, United States, 1 up.

The Americans took an early lead with the first mini-controversy of the Ryder Cup. McDowell had to play a shot from just ahead of a sprinkler head, asked relief and was granted it, which would have allowed him to place it on the fringe and putt. Furyk objected, asked for a second opinion, and no relief was granted. Europe lost the hole with a bogey. Europe ran off four straight birdies, but won only two holes in a high-quality match. Europe went 2-up when Furyk called a penalty on himself at No. 10 because the ball moved slightly after he grounded his club. Europe was poised to go 4 up until McIlroy missed a 12-foot birdie, and then it switched. The Americans won three of the next four holes to square the match. Furyk’s tee shot on the 15th was just short of the green, and McDowell drove into the water. On the 16th, Furyk hit is approach 2 feet to even the match. But on the 18th, Snedeker blocked his tee shot into the Woods and Furyk had to lay up. McIlroy hit a clutch shot from the front bunker to 5 feet, and McDowell holed the par putt to win the match. Europe had to work harder for the point than it would have expected.


Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, United States, def. Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, Europe, 4 and 3.

Bradley quickly emerged as a rock star for this American team. He holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the second hole for an early lead, but the Americans needed to be at their best. Donald and Garcia were 4-0 in Ryder Cup foursomes, and they showed why by winning two straight holes. The match was all square after the turn after a massive tee shot by Bradley set up a wedge by Mickelson that he stuffed to a few feet. The turning point came at the 12th, when Donald nearly went into the water and missed a 7-foot putt on the 12th. Bradley hit to 15 feet and Mickelson made the birdie on the 13th, and the Americans won their third straight hole when Garcia missed a 3 1/2-foot par putt on the 14th. Bradley wrapped up the match with a 25-foot birdie putt on the 15th.


Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson, United States, def. Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari, Europe, 3 and 2.

This is one match that lacked marquee value, though it might have been the most entertaining. Only three holes were halved on the front nine. Westwood was shaky with the putter, missing from short range on the sixth as the match went back to even. Dufner’s birdie putt on the ninth paused at the lip of the cup before falling to win the hole and erase another European lead, and then the rookie made another birdie on the 10th for the Americans’ first lead of the match. They halved with pars the next four holes. On the 15th, which the tees moved forward, Westwood’s tee shot missed badly to the right and went into the middle of the pond. Westwood then missed an 8-foot par putt on the 16th, and Johnson blasted out of a bunker to within 2 feet. Dufner made the short par for the win.


Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, Europe, def. Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, United States, 2 and 1.

Woods and Stricker was a team once thought to be unbeatable, but that seems like years ago. Poulter and Rose took an early lead when Stricker hit into the water on the par-3 second hole, and after a bogey by Europe to lose that lead, Rose made a 45-foot birdie putt on the fourth. Woods was wild off the tee, including one shot that hit and bloodied a spectator. Even so, Europe only had a 1-up lead at the turn. The Americans gave up another hole at No. 11, and Woods missed a 6-foot par putt on the 12th as Europe went 3 up. Woods hit another wild tee shot on the 15th, but it caromed off a tree and rolled just short of the green, and Stricker chipped close for a birdie. Whatever hopes the Americans had of a rally ended on the 16th when Poulter, clutch as ever, holed a 7-foot par putt to remain 2 up. Rose chipped with a fairway metal from behind the 17th green to within inches for a conceded par. It was the third straight loss for the Woods-Stricker tandem (all in foursomes). Poulter improved to 9-3 in the Ryder Cup. Two of those losses had come to Woods.



United States 3, Europe 1.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, United States, def. Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson, Europe, 5 and 4.

Both teams sat out the morning session. Only one of them came out firing. Watson set the tone for the match by asking the fans to keep cheering and chanting as he played his opening tee shot, and he ripped it. They made six birdies on the front nine and never gave the Europeans a chance. Simpson started the show with a 4-foot birdie putt that curled into the cup on the first hole, while Watson ripped off three straight birdies a short time later. Europe didn’t win a hole until Lawrie made birdie on the 11th, and Europe did well to make this match last as long as it did. It ended when Watson easily reached the green on the par-5 14th for a two-putt birdie.


Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, United States, def. Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, Europe, 2 and 1.

Mickelson and Bradley thought they would be a better team in foursomes, but they might lose that argument. Against Europe’s top tandem, they came out firing with four birdies in the opening five holes. They won the first three holes, and when Europe won the sixth with a par, Mickelson answered with a birdie on the par-5 seventh to restore the lead, and Bradley followed with a birdie on the next to go 4 up. McIlroy made birdie on the 14th to trip the margin to 2, and then drove to the collar of the green on the par-4 15th. Typical of Bradley, he hit his tee shot inside him. The Americans were 2 up going to the 17th when Mickelson hit 7-iron to 2 feet for a conceded birdie.


Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, United States, def. Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer, Europe, 3 and 2.

Rose made birdie on the opening hole as Europe went 1 up, its only lead of the day. Johnson, who didn’t win any of his team matches in his debut at Wales two years ago, holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the second hole to square the match, and Kuchar took it from there. Kuchar ran off four straight birdies _ three of them that won holes _ as the Americans went 3 up through seven holes. Rose birdied the 12th to cut the lead to 2 up, and the match could have swung on the pivotal 14th and 15th holes. Johnson made a key birdie to halve the 14th, and a birdie from 6 feet to halve the 15th, and they closed them out with pars on the 16th.


Lee Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts, Europe, def. Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, 1 up.

In what even Ryder Cup veterans believe is the greatest debut they have ever seen, Colsaerts effectively won this match all by himself. Woods opened with a birdie and a rare fist pump for a 1 up lead, and the Americans were poised to win the second hole until Belgium’s big hitter rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt for a halve. Colsaerts made another birdie on the third to square the match, and Europe took its first lead when Colsaerts made a 15-footer on the ninth. He hit his approach to 6 feet for eagle on the 10th, putting Colsaerts at 7 under through 10 holes, and he wasn’t finished. His 8-foot birdie on the 15th gave Europe a 2-up lead when Woods missed from 6 feet. Woods holed a difficult putt from 25 feet above the hole for birdie on the 16th, and then hit his approach to 4 feet on the 17th. Right when it looked as if the Americans would square the match, Colsaerts made a 30-foot birdie putt to stay 1 up. Woods’ 12-foot birdie to halve the match on the 18th hit the left lip. For the round, Colsaerts made eight birdies and an eagle, and Westwood didn’t win a hole. Woods and Stricker were 9 under, enough to beat any other European team. Just not this one.

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