Nick Faldo and Major Champion Padraig Harrington(Getty Images)

Faldo happy with his players

By Steve Todd- Europeantour.com

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Captain Nick Faldo insisted his players' spirits remain high despite seeing his European Team trail by three points following the opening day of The 37th Ryder Cup.

Lee Westwood and S�ren Hansen's last-gasp half point meant Europe ended a challenging first day on something of a positive note and Faldo believes that outcome could have a galvanising effect on team spirit going into Saturday's Matches.

The three-point advantage for the Americans is the largest for them after Day One since 1979, when the US led by the same score at The Greenbrier in West Virginia but Faldo said his players would rally on Saturday.

He said: "I'm obviously very proud of my team. That was a great, great last hour of gold and to get half a point in the very last match was really great for team morale. We are down in points but we are up in morale."

Faldo said Paul Azinger's US Team player some "exceptional golf" on a raucous day at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

"It was a great experience," said the six time Major winner. "I know every single man is giving 100 per cent on every single shot. This is the way is turned out on this particular day. Tomorrow will be a different day.

"The guys are still extremely up and they played some awesome golf. I was proud of so many of them who stepped in for the first time. The way S�ren played -- it was a great moment on 16 (when he holed from off the green). And the shots they played up to 18 to get that valuable halve.

Faldo praised the contribution of Lee Westwood, whose halves in the morning foursome and afternoon fourballs took his undefeated Ryder Cup streak to 12 Matches.

"Lee is a very strong character here. He produces great tee shots when they're needed, great shots and great putts. He thrives on it and, like all the guys, he's done a grand days work."

US Captain Azinger was understandably delighted at his Team's advantage but said he was wary of the European threat after a number of close Matches in which the momentum changed hands.

"Clearly we haven't led in a long time so we're really happy about that," said Azinger. "I was just really proud of everybody, It could have gone either way today. There were some nice comebacks.

"Phil (Mickelson) and Anthony Kim from three down twice today. Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell came from three down. Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard came from two down and Boo Weekley and JB came from two down.

"We are really happy with where we are but we're not even at the halfway point and we know that. We also know how good Europe is so we're just going to get a nice rest and go out and play well tomorrow."