US pull further ahead

Ian Poulter and Justin Rose - Satuday Foursomes

US pull further ahead

Ian Poulter and Justin Rose gained Europe’s only point of the second morning as America pulled further ahead at The Ryder Cup in Chicago.

At one point the US led in all four matches but Poulter and Rose had hit back to beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson one up. It was the only European point of the morning though as Europe went down 3-1 in the session to trail 8-4 heading into the afternoon fourballs.

The English duo made hard work of closing out a vital win, both hitting poor pitches on the 16th as they contrived to take a double-bogey six and see their lead cut to one.

But Poulter responded with an excellent tee shot on the par-three 17th and nerveless par putt to ensure they could not lose the match with a one hole lead playing the 18th.

An excellent approach from Watson left Simpson with a ten foot birdie putt to win the hole and snatch half a point, but the US Open Champion narrowly missed and Europe could celebrate a vital win.

"It was absolutely key," said Poulter, who has now won ten of his 13 Ryder Cup matches. "José put us out number one for a reason and that was to get a point."

Asked about his decision to copy Watson's first-tee antics of driving off with the roar of the crowd in his ears, Poulter added: "Everyone was talking about it and he was going to do it again so why not stand there and enjoy the fun?

"My heart rate went from 100 to 180 pretty quickly but it was a buzz."

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were beaten by a record-equalling margin - The European pair failed to win a single hole as Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley ran our 7 and 6 winners to make it three wins out of three to put their side 6-3 ahead overall.

Mickelson, making a US-record ninth appearance, and rookie Bradley had beaten Sergio Garcia and Donald in foursomes on Friday - ending the pair's unbeaten record in the format - and Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in fourballs, and were in brilliant form again.

They were gifted the second hole when a Westwood found water off the tee on the second - he did so twice on the 15th on Friday - but otherwise made genuine birdies on the first, fifth, seventh and ninth to be five up by the turn.

Another birdie followed on the tenth and when the European pair three-putted the 12th it was all over, matching the 7 and 6 losses suffered by Nick Faldo and David Gilford in 1991 and Ken Brown and Des Smyth in 1979.

Mickelson said: "Europe has had some great team-mates, but to be able to share this experience with Keegan has been really awesome. We've had so much fun, the crowd has provided so much energy and it's brought our best golf out."

Bradley added: "I'm just thrilled I got to share this with Phil."

Sergio Garcia and Nicolas Colsaerts - simply sensational in carrying Westwood to victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker yesterday - were all square with Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson after 11 but were beaten 2 and 1 when the Belgian hit his tee shot in the lake at the penultimate hole.

World Number One McIlroy and former US Open Champion McDowell needed 14 holes to find a birdie and were beaten on the final green by Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker in a repeat of the opening match on Friday morning which the Northern Irish pair won on the 18th.

Captain Olazábal rested 2010 match-winner Graeme McDowell and his most experienced cup player Lee Westwood, while Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley were given a break by Davis Love after winning their first three games and Tiger Woods - left out for the first time in his Ryder or Presidents Cup career - came back alongside Steve Stricker.