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  Friday, 27 September, 2002, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Europe triumph in veteran clash
Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie
Experience pays off for Montgomerie and Langer
Montgomerie/Langer v Hoch/Furyk
(Europe won 4&3)

Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer showed experience counts for everything as they comfortably took a point off American pair Hoch and Jim Furyk in Friday's fourballs.

The European veterans, with more than 60 Ryder Cup matches between them, looked confident from the onset and were more than a match for their American opponents, winning 4&3.

Montgomerie, 39, and 45-year-old Langer grabbed four birdies each as they put in a commanding performance.

The exciting match was effectively settled on the par-three 14th hole when the Europeans moved to dormie four up and, when the Americans conceded the 15th, it was all over.

Jim Furyk in action on the eighth
Furyk gets his toes wet but to no avail
Langer was thrilled with the support he and his partner received on their way to victory.

"It was unbelievable out there," said the German who has played in nine previous Ryder Cups.

"That was the best experience I've ever had in this or any golf tournament."

Europe's old guard showed their wealth of experience early on in the clash, moving to two up after just three holes.

Montgomerie's 25-footer downhill for a birdie on the third followed up Langer' birdie on the previous hole and seemed to signal the shape of the things to come.

Certainly the Americans were not helped by Furyk's mixed fortunes.

After helping reduce the deficit on the fifth, the youngest player in the group, at the age of 32, found himself in trouble on the eighth when his tee shot landed perilously close to the water.

It looked as though Furyk might pull off the shot of the day as he was forced to take off his socks and shoes to approach the shot from the water.

Bernhard Langer
Langer showed impressive precision
But the American only managed to hack it into the lake in front of him and, with Hoch also struggling to make par, Montgomerie's comfortable birdie put the Europeans three ahead.

Despite the clear daylight opening between the pairs, Hoch and Furyk refused to make it easy for their European opponents

A pinpoint iron shot on the approach to the next hole allowed Hoch to roll in his putt for a birdie and pull one back for the American side as group completed the front nine.

The 46-year-old continued to show vitality belying his senior years, snapping at the European pair's heels with precision shots that threatened to reduce the deficit further.

But the home side were back up to three up when Montgomerie made amends for his missed putt on 11 with a birdie on 12

A perfect iron off the tee to the edge of the green set him up for a birdie two at the tricky par three.

Two holes later, they moved to dormie four up, to be assured of at least a half after some excellent work from the European pair.

Despite an impressive effort from Hoch on the par-five 15th hole, the Americans were unable to hold on and finally conceded.


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BBC Five Live's Iain Carter
"It was a perfect start for Europe"
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Europe 15-12 USA

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