Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher combined beautifully in their foursomes match. (Getty Images)
US edge two points clear
Europe need to make up ground after slipping behind after a tense second session gave the US team the edge.
Sarah Gwynn, European Tour Editorial Staff
Rory McIlroy’s missed putt at the 17th proved costly as the USA edged the second session 3½-2½ to move to 6-4 overall in The 2010 Ryder Cup.
McIlroy and Graeme McDowell were all square with Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar and strengthened their position further when McDowell hit to five feet from the pin and Kuchar was about six times that distance away. But Stewart Cink, becoming Europe’s bogey man by holing putts from everywhere, rolled another one in to heap the pressure on the young Northern Irishman.
That pressure proved too much as McIlroy pulled his putt wide of the hole, giving the Americans an unlikely advantage heading down the last. McIlroy had a chance to make amends but chipped into a greenside bunker from 90 yards, handing the USA another point.
In the two groups in front of the Ulstermen, however, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald completed a 2&1 victory over Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, and Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher beat Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 3&2.
Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, having been one up since the second hole, lost the 18th to halve with Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler, and there was late disappointment for Francesco and Edoardo Molinari as well. The brothers came back to all square with Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan at the 16th but then lost the next two holes, while Miguel Angel Jiménez and Peter Hanson were beaten 4&3 by Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
“It was tough,” said McIlroy. “We played pretty good. We got ourselves in a nice position going down the 16th and just couldn't finish it off. But it was tough out there and I actually thought we played pretty well.
“I think the team is still in good spirits and we can go out there and give it a good shot this afternoon and tomorrow morning.”
“The atmosphere is electric,” said Harrington. “The supporters realise everything is tight and we do need that support. All Ryder Cups are tight but this looks particularly tight and we need that boost behind us.
“I just couldn't make any birdies in the fourballs but I think Monty made a great decision – he gave me some responsibility today and looking after Ross, feeling like I have to do a bit more, it worked well for me.”
Poulter said: “It was a tough match today. It was a steady match. We kind of put ourselves in position a lot, and Luke just hit a fantastic tee shot (at the 17th, to three feet) to finish it off.
“Every time you approach the tee, every time you approach the green, the fans are just giving you a standing ovation, and that’s just awesome. To get some electricity from these guys is just truly amazing.”
Cink was worried he and Kuchar were in trouble until he holed another long putt to make it advantage USA.
“The look and the reactions on the green after we had made birdie there kind of said it all,” he said.
“I was afraid the turning point was going to come on the 15th when I zinged one into the bunker out of the rough and lost that hole. But I’m glad we turned that around. The 16th hole was big, and the putt on the 17th, in Ryder Cups those are like poison darts.”