Europe keeps in touch with United States
Posted in the New York Forum
Since: Oct 12
#1 Nov 23, 2012
Davis Love III's team won three of the four morning foursomes and looked like repeating the trick in the afternoon's fourballs.
But dramatic late points from Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and the brilliant Ian Poulter - his third of the competition - gave Europe late hope of an unlikely comeback.
"That was unbelievable," said Poulter, who notched up his 11th victory in 14 matches, despite being two down with six holes to play.
"We had to get something going. From then on my scotty cameron putter warmed up nicely, having been pretty cold for the first 13 holes.
The hosts were consistently superior on the slippery, sloping Medinah greens, nailing clutch putts as Europe's players struggled to read the fast lines.
Since the competition expanded to include mainland Europe in 1979, the biggest comeback on the final day of singles came at Brookline in 1999, when the US overhauled a 10-6 deficit on the Sunday to win by a single point.
If that is a chastening statistic for the visitors' captain Jose Maria Olazabal, he knows his side will have no chance at all unless there is a dramatic reversal of form from the first two days.
The gap between the two sides has at times been immense, not only on the overall scoreboard but in too many individual matches.
In a horribly one-sided morning session, Mickelson and Bradley had equaled the biggest foursomes win with their fabulous discount golf clubs in Ryder Cup history as the US roared out to an 8-4 lead.
The American pairing had won both their foursomes and fourballs matches on Friday and were even more dominant in a crushing 7&6 win over Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.
Their margin was almost matched in the afternoon by Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson's 5&4 butchering of Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari.
Watson has been one of the darlings of the pumped-up Medinah crowd, and his huge driving on a course with almost no rough, allied to Simpson's vastly improved putting, was a matchless combination.
Dustin Johnson drained a 30-footer on the 17th green to establish a late winning lead for his pairing with Matt Kuchar over Paul Lawrie and Nicolas Colsaerts as Europe came close to capitulation.
In a see-saw match, the Belgian rookie Colsaerts almost holed his approach to rescue a half on the 18th.
But as so often on a frustrating afternoon the European ball flirted with the hole yet refused to drop, and when Colsaerts could only run the resulting 15-foot putt past the right edge, the American pair had the point.
A nerveless eight-foot putt from Donald on the 15th restored a two-hole advantage with three to play before Woods conjured up yet another birdie on 16 to leave Europe just one up.
After brilliant tee-shots with the burner 2.0 irons from both Woods and Donald on the 17th the match came down to a Stricker putt on the 18th, and he could only lip out from eight feet to send his pairing to their third defeat in three.
But it was the miraculous late charge of Poulter that kept alive European hopes, five birdies on the bounce clawing back a two-hole deficit on Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson before nerveless putting on the 17th and 18th secured the precious point.
Earlier in the day, Dufner and Johnson had beaten Garcia and Colsaerts 2&1 while Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker saw off Graeme McDowell and McIlroy.
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