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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 September, 2004, 22:14 GMT 23:14 UK
Europe close on victory
Score after Saturday's matches: USA 5-11 Europe

Lee Westwood (top) and Sergio Garcia
Europe fought back from a poor start to extend their lead to 11-5 going into Sunday's final singles in the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, Detroit.

Bernhard Langer's side were facing a whitewash in the fourballs before Paul Casey and David Howell won a vital late point to check the USA's resurgence.

America won the fourballs 2-1 to narrow the gap to 8-4 but Europe hit back hard in the foursomes.

Europe won three matches and now need just three points to retain the trophy.

A jubilant Langer said: "My foursomes pairings were very strong. They came very natural to me.

Hal Sutton
We will figure out a game plan and we'll have to come out charging
US captain Hal Sutton

"I just had a feeling they would do well. It's not surprising to me at all."

US captain Hal Sutton was shell-shocked and admitted his side had been outplayed.

"We had some energy this morning but we could not get any of that electricity this afternoon," said Sutton.

"You don't expect Tiger and David to get beat, and get beat badly in the end.

"We will figure out a game plan and we'll have to come out charging."

The visitors led 6-1 after a stunning first day but were on the end of an American backlash on Saturday morning - at one point Europe were down in three matches and all-square in the other one.

Lee Westwood (left) and Darren Clarke were in inspired form
Westwood (left) and Clarke were in dominant form

In bright sunshine and roared on by an increasingly excited home crowd, world number two Tiger Woods won his first point alongside debutant Chris Riley, a replacement for the struggling Phil Mickelson.

The pair gelled well and cruised to a 4&3 victory over Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter.

Stewart Cink and Davis Love then beat Europe's number one pair of Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington 3&2 to continue the USA renaissance.

But Spain's Sergio Garcia and England's Lee Westwood were able to stem the flow with a half against veteran Jay Haas and Chris DiMarco.

We all owe David and Paul a beer
Lee Westwood

And in a rollercoaster battle, rookies Howell and Casey came from one down with two to play to clinch a valuable late point on the 18th against Jim Furyk and Chad Campbell.

"That was the biggest point of the week - it made a massive difference," said Westwood. "We all owe David and Paul a beer."

Langer made some tweaks to his pairings for the afternoon foursomes and opted to leave out Colin Montgomerie for the first match since the Scot's Ryder Cup debut in 1991.

The German's opposite number Hal Sutton also brought Mickelson back in but left out Riley despite his success in partnering Woods.

In the first match, Clarke and Westwood strolled to an easy 5&4 win over Haas and DiMarco but America hit back with a point from Mickelson and David Toms, who beat Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Levet 4&3.

In the last group, the Irish pair of Harrington and Paul McGinley forced their way back to all-square by the eighth against Woods and Davis Love and surged to victory down the back nine to win 4&3.

The icing on the cake was provided by Garcia and Luke Donald, who held their nerve in a thrilling match to win by one hole on the 18th.

Three more points will ensure Europe, as holders, retain the Ryder Cup, while three-and-a-half will win the trophy outright.



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