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Stenson and Rose
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Europe

Clarke keeps faith with Stenson and Rose

After the Americans completed their first opening session clean-sweep at The Ryder Cup in 41 years, Darren Clarke elected to stick with Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose for the first match of the afternoon session at Hazeltine National. 

Stenson and Rose, who lost 3 and 2 to the undefeated pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the morning foursomes, will face the Texan duo again in the afternoon fourballs from 1230 local time, before fellow Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello take on rookie Ryan Moore and JB Holmes from 1245.

Masters Champion Danny Willett will make his Ryder Cup bow at 1300 in the company of Martin Kaymer, who with Garcia lost 4 and 2 to Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson on Friday morning, as the European pair take on American rookie Brooks Koepka and Brandt Snedeker.

After a baptism of fire for Thomas Pieters in the opening session, in which the Belgian and Lee Westwood fell to a 5 and 4 defeat to Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, the European debutant will be back out for the afternoon fourballs in a big-hitting twosome to face fellow bomber Dustin Johnson and Kuchar.

Looking to bounce straight back from a shell-shocking morning with a strong afternoon showing, the European captain knows the second session could prove crucial but is keeping things in perspective.

"They weren't firing on all cylinders, they've been playing really nicely in practice and it was one of those things," said Clarke. "Foursomes is a difficult game. We took a look at the line up and we were looking forward to it and I thought we were looking strong but in foursomes sometimes that happens.

"The American guys played better than we did. Looking at it, 4-0 is probably a fair result for the way that they were playing.

"There are so many points to play for yet. Obviously it's not an ideal start by any stretch of the imagination but we've come back from deficits like this in the past. It's a big ask, a tough ask, but the guys are all ready and keen and can't wait to get back out there.

"The pairs weren't really affected, there was always a time to get Danny out there and Rafa and get the rookies in and playing, it wasn't particularly affected by this morning. Fourballs is a totally different format to the foursomes and a different type of game.

"Starting of with Henrik and Justin, their record speaks for itself, they didn't quite hole the putts this morning but they're still a wonderful pairing.

"Sergio and Rafa, the two Spaniards, they've been looking forward to playing together for a long time.

"Martin going out with Danny and Rory and Tomas Pieters are the two big guns at the very end. It looks a very strong team from our point of view on paper."