Europe flying story
Lee Westwood showed why his is Europe's Number One with a stunning display on day two (Getty Images)

Europe flying as darkness falls

The Ryder Cup scoreboard shows America 6-4 ahead, but Europe were the ones with the clear momentum when play ended at The Celtic Manor Resort.

Incredibly, Colin Montgomerie's Team lead in all six games of the third session - two foursomes and four fourballs because of the need to make up time lost due to Friday's rain.

It was still the early stages in some of them, but the first point of the fightback looks odds on to come in the morning from Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker may have won their opening two games, making it six out of six when you add in last year's Presidents Cup, but they trailed by four after going to the turn in 40.

Having won the long ninth with a birdie, the American stars will cling to the hope that they can still get something out of it.

But if the home pair win it would be Donald's sixth win out of six in Ryder Cup foursomes and, almost unbelievably, Westwood's sixth in seven games against Woods at the event.

Behind them Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher stood one up after eight against Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson, Harrington having earlier ended a run of ten Cup games without a win.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are three up on Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan - a real confidence-booster for McIlroy after a day of real highs and lows - and Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jiménez will resume two ahead of Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton.

Francesco Molinari chipped in just before the close to put himself and brother Edoardo two up on Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar, while Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer have a two hole advantage over Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler after four holes of the bottom game.

Montgomerie said: "None of these games are finished, but we are in a very, very strong position suddenly.

"It was not going well at lunchtime to be honest with you. It was a bit stale, but I asked for more passion and they showed it."

By then the Scot had added Jose Maria Olazábal as a fifth vice-captain and if the Cup is regained an experienced backroom team that also includes Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Sergio Garcia and Thomas Björn will have played their part, as will the crowd.

But in the end it comes down to the players and if Montgomerie was to single anybody out it would probably be his wild card Harrington.

After playing poorly in his opening game, Harrington finally tasted victory with Ross Fisher in the foursomes.

They beat Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 3 & 2 - Harrington's first point since the 2004 singles in Detroit and a result which gave Mickelson the 16th defeat of his Cup career, matching the American record of Ray Floyd.

Harrington praised Montgomerie for putting him with Fisher.

"He made a great decision," he said. "He gave me the responsibility to look after Ross and it made me step up a bit.

"The atmosphere is electric. The supporters realise things are very tight - they all are, but this looks particularly tight."

Europe's other winners in the second session were Donald and Poulter, who beat Overton and Watson 2 & 1 after Donald's magnificent four iron to under three feet at the 17th.

"Fantastic," Poulter said of a shot which gave Donald his fifth win out of five in Ryder Cup foursomes.

The same word could not be used for McIlroy and McDowell's finish against Cink and Kuchar, however.

In a rematch of a fourball half, the Ulster pair were one up with three to play. They bogeyed the 16th, McIlroy missed from under five feet at the next after Cink had holed from 25 and the 21 year old then duffed his pitch to the par five last into sand.

Westwood and Kaymer, Europe's only winners in the first session, led Furyk and Fowler all the way from the second until the final green.

Furyk's pitch over the lake to three feet there enabled him and his partner to get out of the game with a half - and therefore not dwell quite so long over a rules blunder on the fourth.

Last weekend's £7million winner Furyk drove into mud and debutant Fowler was given a free drop, but he used a ball from his pocket rather than the one in play and incurred the loss of the hole.

The first pair to record two wins were Woods and Stricker – the latter a tower of strength as they beat Hanson and Jiménez 4 & 3.

The Molinaris, meanwhile, lost on the last to Zach Johnson and Mahan.

McIlroy did not have a happy time on the 18th. He had just rolled in a dramatic 30 foot putt to draw level with Kuchar and Cink.

But he and Cink both put two balls in the lake and it was left to McDowell and Kuchar to secure a half.

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