Ryder Cup: Rookies inspire America to slender lead

Stenson and Rose Europe's lone winners

Rose/Stenson beat Watson/Simpson 5&4

Webb Simpson got the 40th Ryder Cup underway with a roofed drive that barely carried 200 yards – and it barely got much better as the Americans failed to find a single birdie as

Rose and Stenson made short work of their first time out together.

The Swede got the ball rolling with a birdie at the 2nd before Rose added another at the tricky, short 4th. Another par 5 was reduced to four shots at the 9th by Stenson as they turned three up and a 30-footer from Rose at the next extended the lead further.

Simpson’s putting was surprisingly out of sorts while Watson added nothing as they went in search of birdies. The 2013 US Open champion wrapped things up with a fifth team birdie at the 14th. 

Bjorn/Kaymer v Fowler/Walker All Square

Jimmy Walker knocked in a six-footer on the last to give the visitors a half point in a match they were never level in.

The debutant holed a bunker shot for eagle at the 9th and a chip at the 16th to reduce a lead which was built up early on.

Kaymer almost holed his approach at the opening hole and Bjorn maintained the advantage with some tidy work around the hole. The Dane, who last played in the competition 12 years ago at The Belfry, then chipped in himself at the 13th to double the lead to two up but Walker’s heroics then leveled things up.

In truth Kaymer and Fowler were bit-part players with the American adding just one birdie but the real star was Walker who deserved something for his impressive efforts.    

"We can expect to see plenty more of Messrs Spieth and Reed, both here and in the years to come"
Poulter/Gallacher lost to Reed/Spieth 5&4

Ian Poulter’s unbeaten run came to an abrupt finish as he and Stephen Gallacher were stuffed by US rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

Captain Tom Watson said before the matches that there was no better place to ‘get their feet wet’ than the opening fourballs and they came through with five birdies in six holes around the turn.

Poulter, who had won his last seven straight matches, opened up by missing a tiddler while Gallacher never properly settled. But few pairings would have been able to handle the scoring that the youngsters threw up with both contributing in equal measure.

We can expect to see plenty more of Messrs Spieth and Reed, both here and in the years to come, the same can’t be said of their opponents. 

McIlroy/Garcia lost to Mickelson/Bradley One Hole

The match that had promised so much delivered plenty – if not with spectacular scoring but by going down the last as plenty had anticipated.

There was never more than two in it, and that only lasted one hole, as both pairs struggled to produce the expected fireworks in the Gleneagles gusts.

McIlroy, who admitted that Mickelson’s little dig about his ongoing legal battle would add a bit of spice, traded birdies with the left-hander before his new Spanish partner saw his bunker recovery find the bottom of the cup at the 3rd.

The visitors, unbeaten at Medinah, birdied 9 and 10 but then both missed short putts at 13 and 15 as Europe sneaked ahead again.
But Bradley made amends with a superlative fairway wood approach to the 16th to set up a short putt for eagle and Mickelson had the final word with a two-foot birdie putt after a trademark recovery from sand.    

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