Super Saturday begins

Justin Rose in action again with Ian Poulter

Super Saturday begins

As Team Europe target a change in momentum after taking a two point deficit into the Saturday matches, play began on day two of The 2012 Ryder Cup in Chicago…

Super Saturday begins as Team Europe target a change in momentum after taking a two point deficit into the Saturday matches, play began on day two of The 2012 Ryder Cup in Chicago…

After a thrilling opening Friday in the 39th edition of golf’s greatest team event, when Europe fought back to avoid a session two whitewash thanks to the heroics of Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts, play got underway at precisely 0720 on a crisp and autumnal morning on the outskirts of Chicago.

With a slight bite in the temperature, the hues of red increasingly prevalent in the boughs of Medinah’s old oak trees and a low pale orange sun highlighting a trace of mist across the No. 3 Course, the American fans were on increasingly boisterous form on the first tee, emboldened by their team’s fine performance on Friday.

A myriad of both American and European flags peppered the once again packed grandstands and fairways as the two sets of fans faced off in vocal fashion as rapturous applause welcomed the ever-popular Bubba Watson and his partner Webb Simpson to the tee, before the opening European pair of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose emerged in tops of an ‘Empire’ shade of magenta.

After warm handshakes between the teams again reflected the spirit of the competition, Poulter, in a vein similar to Watson on Friday, whipped the impressive galleries into a cacophony of noise for his opening tee shot that found the fairway bunker as Watson’s effort landed in the left-hand rough.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, who combined memorably in 2010 to defeat Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, are taking on the form pair of Friday in Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, while Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts, whose Ryder Cup career began in spectacular fashion on Friday in a round that featured eight birdies and an eagle, lines up alongside Spain’s Sergio Garcia in a foursomes encounter with Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

In the anchor match, meanwhile, Northern Irish pair Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are again taking on Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker in a repeat of Friday’s opening tie.

With the Americans up in all four of the matches just over an hour into play on day two, however, Europe will know they face a stern test against a confident Team US.