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Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Sunday, 3 October 2010 18:37 UK

Ryder Cup 2010: Europe roar back to take 9-6 lead

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson gained a Ryder Cup record he would rather not have

Europe roared back from 6-4 down to take a 9½-6½ lead over the United States ahead of the Ryder Cup singles.

The foursomes pairs of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell got the ball rolling with comfortable wins.

In the fourballs, Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson, and Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer added to the tally.

The Molinari brothers then took a half against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.

It may prove to be a big half-point with Europe needing 14½ in Monday's rescheduled singles to regain the Ryder Cup.

Singles pairings (all times BST):
0905: Westwood v Stricker
0917: McIlroy v Cink
0929: Donald v Furyk
0941: Kaymer v D Johnson
0953: Poulter v Kuchar
1005: Fisher v Overton
1017: Jimenez v Watson
1029: F Molinari v Woods
1041: E Molinari v Fowler
1053: Hanson v Mickelson
1105: Harrington v Z Johnson
1117: McDowell v Mahan

For a while on Sunday it looked as if Colin Montgomerie's men could even complete Europe's first session whitewash since they won the fourballs 4-0 at The Belfry in 1989.

The only 'blip' was the half won by the Molinaris - but that felt more like a victory as the Italian rookies twice battled back from a hole down on the back nine against Cink and Kuchar.

Francesco Molinari, who had missed several short putts, kept his nerve on the 18th to hole a tricky three-footer and ensure every member of the European team had contributed at least a half-point.

Sunday's play had begun at 1330 BST after heavy rain once again drenched the Celtic Manor course.

This forced the organisers to move the 12 singles matches to Monday [0905 BST] for the first time in the event's 83-year history.

The US went into Sunday with a 6-4 lead but they were down in the two unfinished foursomes and four fourballs.

Experienced Cup campaigner Westwood and Donald had been brilliant over two sessions and proceeded to inflict Tiger Woods's biggest defeat at the Ryder Cup, with a 6&5 victory.

Woods, who had won his previous two matches with Steve Stricker, began the session four down which soon became five when Westwood holed a 35-foot birdie at the 10th.


The US then lost the next hole before Europe completed victory on the 13th.

"I thought that putt Lee holed on 10 was magnificent," said Donald.

"When you are playing Tiger, you just seem to up your game a little bit," added Westwood, who recorded his sixth win over Woods in seven Ryder Cup encounters. The pair will meet again in Monday's singles.

The Northern Irish duo of McDowell and McIlroy then levelled the scores at 6-6 with a 3&1 success in their foursomes match against Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan.

Victory was guaranteed on the par-three 17th when McIlroy sunk a birdie following a great tee-shot from McDowell.

"I regard Rory as one of the best players I've seen in the world," said McDowell, who has now won one, lost one and halved one with in his three matches with the 21-year-old.

"I am going to miss him tomorrow, but I know he will be doing his job and I will be doing mine."

The first fourballs match saw the outstanding Fisher, partnered and mentored by Harrington, secure a 2&1 success against Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan.

"I think quality-wise, Ross played the best golf anybody's seen at the Ryder Cup," Irishman Harrington said of rookie Fisher, who holed six birdies in the match, including the putt to win the match on the 17th.

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson gained a Ryder Cup record he would rather not have

US rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton pushed Hanson and Jimenez all the way, clawing back to all-square from two down.

But Overton failed to match veteran Jimenez's 20-foot birdie on the 16th before the Europe pair took the 18th to win 2up.

Poulter and Kaymer were 2up at the 7th before Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler pulled it back to all-square at the 13th, but the European duo fought back again to seal a 2up victory.

It handed Mickelson the unenviable statistic of becoming the American with more defeats than any other since the Ryder Cup started in 1927 - 17 from 33 matches.

European captain Montgomerie was overwhelmed by his side's efforts on the third day.

"It's incredible what has just happened out there," said the Scot.

"All credit to every one of them but especially to Hanson and Jimenez for that putt on 15, which really got us going.

"This is what momentum is all about - you get it and it changes the whole thing. Especially Woods, for him to lose 6&5 will have an effect on the whole of their team. He's their top player and the world number one."

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see also
McDowell seals Cup win for Europe
04 Oct 10 |  Golf
Europe reign after the storm
03 Oct 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup 2010: Sunday photos
03 Oct 10 |  Golf
Europe launch Ryder Cup fightback
02 Oct 10 |  Golf
US edge rain-affected first day
01 Oct 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup scores
30 Sep 10 |  Live scores
Ryder Cup A-Z
28 Sep 10 |  Golf

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