The swings were the thing on Day Two at the Ryder Cup
Saturday at the K Club saw another collection of eye-popping drives, clutch putts, hole-winning chip-ins and even the first match-winning hole-in-one in Ryder Cup history. T.J. Auclair picks out the gems.
By T.J. Auclair, Junior Editor
September 23, 2006
STRAFFAN, Ireland -- A quick look at the most critical and memorable shots struck on Day Two of the 36th Ryder Cup:
8. Morning Fourball, Hole No. 2, Robert Karlsson:
Swede Robert Karlsson looked to be out of the hole after firing his second shot left of the green and into the fringe, 25 feet from the hole. In the meantime, Stewart Cink was sitting pretty, lining up a six-foot birdie putt.
Before Cink could play his putt, Karlsson needed to chip on. In a matter of seconds, the Europeans went from hoping for a halve to winning the hole. Karlsson's chip hit the green and rolled perfectly into the cup for birdie. Cink proceeded to miss his birdie putt and the Europeans quickly went 1-up.
7. Morning Fourball, Hole No. 16, J.J. Henry:
With the U.S. trailing 1-down through 15 holes and needing at least a small ray of hope to salvage something from the morning session, Ryder Cup rookie J.J. Henry delivered.
From way back in the fairway, the long-hitting Henry produced a bullet 3-wood that landed on the par-5 green in two, 20 feet from the hole. Minutes later, he rolled in the eagle putt to square the match.
6. Morning Fourball, Hole No. 17, J.J. Henry:
Riding the momentum from his eagle at 16, Henry stepped his game up once again, stuffing his approach shot to two feet and knocking in the birdie putt to put the Americans 1-up with one to play. The U.S. would go on to lose the final hole, but the match was halved.
5. Morning Fourball, Hole No. 15, Zach Johnson:
After watching Irishman Padraig Harrington chip in for a birdie and enduring the bleacher-shaking ovation the ensued, U.S. Ryder Cup first-timer Zach Johnson regrouped to hole a 10-foot birdie putt to halve the hole and keep the Americans 2-up at the time.
4. Afternoon Foursomes, Hole No. 9, Colin Montgomerie:
It seemed as though U.S. rookie Vaughn Taylor had just holed a beautiful birdie putt to win the hole. However, Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie still had a chip for birdie left for an unlikely halve.
Just as he's done a number of times in the past, the Scotsman stepped to the plate and knocked in the chip shot to the delight of the European crowds to gain the halve and keep the match all-square.
3. Afternoon Foursomes, Hole No. 16, Luke Donald:
Having just gone 1-up with three holes to play, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia were in need of one more big-time shot to seal the deal over Phil Mickelson and David Toms.
Donald, an Englishman playing in his second Ryder Cup, delivered what was essentially the knockout blow when he confidently poured in a 15-foot birdie putt to put the Europeans 2-up with two to play in a match they closed out on the next hole.
2. Morning Fourball, Hole 16, Darren Clarke:
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke has been the story of the week. Less than two months removed from burying his wife, Heather, who lost her hard-fought, four-year battle with cancer, Clarke decided to play in the Ryder Cup.
It was an emotional scene when he took the tee on Friday morning. Though his wife has understandably been heavy on his mind, Clarke has managed to focus on his game -- a brilliant one at that.
Squaring off against no less than Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk on Saturday morning, Clarke chipped in from the rough behind the 16th green for birdie to earn a 3 & 2 victory and a valuable full point for the Europeans.
1. Afternoon Foursomes, Hole No. 14, Paul Casey:
Sitting dormie at the 14th hole -- 5-up with five holes to play -- the European duo of Paul Casey and David Howell put an exclamation point on their inevitable win over Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson.
The 14th hole is a par 3, measuring 213 yards. Casey was the first to tee off -- and the last. One and done. The Englishman, who currently leads the European Tour's Order of Merit, hit a breathtaking 4-iron shot that hit the green, rolled about five feet and died into the hole like a perfect putt.
With the first "walk-off ace" in Ryder Cup history, Casey sent the crowds into a frenzy with the dramatic finish.
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