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Jimenez and Hanson st
Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez secured a hard-fought victory (Getty Images)

Europe seize advantage on Super Sunday

Europe will head into the final session singles with a significant advantage after a fantastic performance on Sunday afternoon to take Session Three by five and a half points to America’s half.

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald dished out a 6&5 demolition of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in one of the two foursomes matches of the third session, which started on Saturday afternoon and finished more than 24 hours later as heavy rain delayed the start of play until 13:30.

That set the ball rolling for the Europeans, with Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy beating Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan 3&1 in the other foursomes match, and Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher winning 2&1 against Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler in one of four fourballs to put Europe in front.

Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jiménez then added another point by beating Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, the Spaniard holing a long putt to win the 16th and another solid one to take the 17th and go one up. Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer then won 2&1 against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler and the Francesco Molinari produced a moment of magic to seal a half point alongside his brother against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.

One down on the 18th, Francesco hit his third shot to a few feet and holed the putt for birdie, winning the hole to halve the match after the Americans could only make par.

Having trailed 6-4 heading into the third session, it was a sublime riposte by Colin Montgomerie’s men. Westwood again led by example, playing magnificently and looking as though he was loving every second.

Monty wanted us to go out and make a fast start this afternoon and get some momentum going, and that putt was just the right way, get the crowd up for it and get them cheering so everyone else can hear it around the golf course so they can see a big winning margin go up on the board; it does a lot for everybody's confidence.”

Europe were ahead in all six matches at the start of play today, and Harrington praised his team-mates for holding on and getting the job done.

“I think we were in a difficult situation going out,” he said. “Even though we had all blue on the board, we had not won those points.  It was very important.  To get 5½ points is phenomenal, really.  All of the work was on us being up in six matches, so to get away with 5½ matches and to get the lead going into tomorrow, it is probably the Sunday we all dreamt about at the start of the week.”

Poulter said: “We had that lead.  They were coming back at us, but it just shows how strong this side is.  We kept our noses in front, and looking up at that board, seeing a sea of blue is huge motivation to keep knocking it close and keep knocking those putts in.  You know, it gives us a nice position to go out tomorrow and do exactly the same.”

Fisher enjoyed his fruitful partnership with Harrington, which has a 100% record from their two matches.

“When you've got a three‑time Major Champion reading your putts, you've got a fair chance,” he said. “All I had to do was start it on line, and every time I seemed to do that, they seemed to drop.  So it was a tremendous help, and to get two points with Paddy was great.”

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