Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Jim Furyk's opening-hole birdie after Tiger Woods drove into the water was absolutely crucial. (Photo: Getty Images)

The shots heard round the K Club, and the golf world

On Day One of the Ryder Cup, the K Club witnessed a parade of amazing drives, approaches, bunker shots and putts. PGA.com Junior Editor T.J. Auclair sorts through them all and selects the five he believes were the most important.

By T.J. Auclair, Junior Editor
September 22, 2006

STRAFFAN, Ireland -- A quick look at the most critical and memorable shots struck on Day One of the 36th Ryder Cup:

1. Morning Fourball, Hole No. 1, Jim Furyk:

After watching teammate Tiger Woods deliver his opening tee shot into the water left of the first fairway, a poised Jim Furyk dialed in a 9-iron to within eight feet of the hole at first. That approach led to an impressive birdie to give the Americans an early 1-up lead over Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington.

Montgomerie and Harrington both had good looks at birdie, but failed to convert. Knowing his playing partner was out of the hole after the tee shot, Furyk delivered.

2. Morning Fourball, Hole No. 1, Darren Clarke:

Talk about a perfect start. Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke received a heartwarming, tear-inducing welcome as he stepped to the first tee, returning to the Ryder Cup to help his European mates less than two months after the death of his wife, Heather, who battled but eventually succumbed to her four-year battle with cancer.

The Ulsterman proceeded to crush a 300-yard drive down the center of the fairway. From there he stuck his approach from 126 yards to within 12 feet of the hole, and then rolled in the birdie putt for a 1-up lead to the delight of the crowd and partner Lee Westwood.

"I said earlier in the week in my press conference, you get on that first tee and the first tee shot was always going to be a tough one for me," Clarke said, "but after that? "

3.Morning Fourball, Hole No. 4, Paul Casey:

Paul Casey, currently No. 1 on the European Tour's Order of Merit, delivered the only eagle of the day on No. 4. With a 3-wood from the fairway, Casey weaved a magnificent shot over a greenside bunker that came to rest eight feet from the hole.

He then knocked in the eagle putt to give the Europeans a 1-up lead over Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry.

4. Morning Fourball, Hole No. 3, Lee Westwood:

Westwood epitomized the saying, "There are no pictures on the scorecard," with his remarkable par at this par 3.

After hitting his tee shot into a greenside bunker, Westwood chunked his second shot and left it in the bunker. From there he proceeded to hole-out for an unlikely par and halved the hole with the U.S.

5. Afternoon Foursomes, Hole No. 17, Paul McGinley:

McGinley, a crowd favorite who used to play out of the K Club, watched Zach Johnson hole a 12-foot birdie putt, which looked sure to get the Americans all-square. However, McGinley still had a 10-footer for birdie of his own.

The Irishman deftly and confidently rolled in the 10-footer, similar to the putt he drained to clinch the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry, to halve the hole.

Copyright 2006 PGA.com. All rights reserved.

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