Friday wrap -up | Ryder Cup 2008

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Ryder Cup 2008 results from Day One

Friday morning foursomes

Match 1 Mickelson/Kim halved Harrington/Karlsson

Match 2 Leonard/Mahan won 3&2 vs Stenson/Casey

Match 3 Cink/Campbell won 1up vs Rose/Poulter

Match 4 Perry/Furyk halved Westwood/Garcia

 USA 3 Europe 1

Friday Afternoon fourballs

March 5 Mickelson/Kim won 2up vs Harrington/McDowell

Match 6 Stricker/Curtis lost 4&2 vs Poulter/Rose

Match 7 Leonard/Mahan won 4&3 vs Garcia/Jimenez

Match 8 Holmes/Weekely halved Westwood/Hansen

USA 5 1/2 Europe 2 1/2

Saturday Morning Foursomes

Match 9 Cink/Campbell vs Poulter/Rose

Match 10 Leonard/Mahan vs Jimenez/McDowell

Match 11 Mickelson/Kim vs Stenson/Wilson

Match 12 Furyk/Perry vs Harrington/Karlsson

 

The first day of the 37th Ryder Cup lived up to all the hype and expectation. Eleven hours and 20 minutes of unforgettable golf, with the usual spectacular chip-ins and mishaps. At the end of it all, Captain Azinger’s Bud Light will taste a touch better than Captain Faldo’s. Zinger’s men lead 5 ½ - 2 ½ and he has played all 12 of his men, all six of his rookies. Indeed, it is the first time the Americans have led after the first day since 1991.

Faldo will be thankful he isn’t losing 6-2, because it looked for a long time that that was going to be the case, until Boo Weekley and J.B.Holmes let the final European pair (Westwood and Hansen) off the hook in the final match off the day. Looking like tightening the noose on the 16th, the two Americans were palpably shocked when Soren Hansen (who had only made one birdie up until then) holed a remarkable chip to win the hole. Dormie one up on the last, Boo and JB then showed that they are not the smartest buttons in the South, by both driving in the water at the last, and handing the hole on a plate to the Euros.

The match was halved and Europe go into tomorrow three points behind rather than four.
You have to feel very sorry at the end of it all for Harrington and Westwood, who both played superbly all day, but didn’t win a match. Harrington finished with a half point from his two matches, while Westwood had two halves.

Ian Poulter impressed. He needed to mind you. There was an enormous amount of pressure on him after he lost with his buddy Rose in the morning. But, he was the better player in the afternoon of the two; and brought home Europe’s only victory of the day with their win over Steve Stricker and Ben Curtis.

“I’m very proud of my team,” Faldo said afterwards. “We’re down in points but we’re up in spirit.” Faldo was impressive at the end, refusing to criticise the course set-up or Boo’s controversial whipping up of the crowd. Westwood however commented: “When you do that in between shots of your opponents its stops the flow of play. We were slow enough as it was, and I thought we were never going to finish.”

Surprisingly perhaps, Faldo left out Westwood (the first time he has been left out of any series in any Ryder Cup) Garcia and Casey. Tomorrow, Oliver Wilson (the only player on either side not to get a game) plays in the morning foursomes with Henrik Stenson against America’s best team, Mickelson and Kim. Perhaps significantly, Faldo came into the press room before the pairings were announced, and so didn’t have to answer any questions on tomorrow morning’s pairings.

As everyone knows, momentum is a huge thing in Ryder Cups and because of that, so much rested on the first match out on Friday morning, Harrington and Karlsson against Mickelson and Kim.

What a battle it was, with the Europeans leading for most of the match until a birdie by the Americans on the 15th brought things level. From then on it was a desperately exciting finish, with neither side giving an inch. Harrington sank a splendid 15 footer on the 16th to stay level, and Karlsson sank a nervy 4-footer (in the side door) on the 17th, again to keep it level. At the final hole, Harrington had a 15 footer for the match, after the debutant Anthony Kim surprisingly left a bunker shot in the trap. The Irishman hit a great putt which was bending round towards the hole all the way, but it just missed on the high side. Given Harrington had been holing these all morning, he was naturally disappointed, but in the end a half was the right result. If this match sets the pattern for the week, we’re in for a fantastic couple of days.

The lunchtime score, 3-1 to America, was the first time since the 1991 War on the Shore match that the United States had held a lead after one session. It was also the first time in the last five matches when the Europeans didn’t hold a lead.

And while Faldo will have been hugely relieved Garcia and Westwood came back from dormie two down to halve the match (remember Garcia was 8 wins and 0 losses in his 8 foursomes matches up until now) Captain Faldo will have been equally disappointed that Poulter and Rose lost on the last, after Rose hit their second into the greenside bunker.

Casey and Stenson never really got going, missing 7 of the first 9 greens; and they weren’t helped by the fact that Leonard and Hunter Mahan looked particularly impressive.

Indeed, Leonard and Mahan both won two points, Mahan playing in his debut.

“I didn’t realise how much I missed this event until today,” said a delighted Leonard afterwards. “I enjoyed today a lot more than my previous Ryder Cup experiences. My mouth is sore from smiling so much.” The Europeans will be trying their utmost to wipe that American smile away first thing tomorrow…