Saturday's fourballs


D Johnson and M Kuchar bt N Colsaerts and P Lawrie 1 hole

What was meant to be the first match went off second to give Colsaerts more time after his morning match went to the 17th, but it did not help the European pair make a good start. Birdies from Kuchar at the second and fourth gave the American pair an early two-hole lead, but they bogeyed the sixth to open the door. Colsaerts responded with his second birdie of the day on the seventh to get back to all square, but Lawrie only made his first birdie to halve the 15th and then recorded a solid par on the 16th to get the match back to all square.

However, just when the momentum appeared to have shifted to Europe, Johnson delivered a hammer blow with a birdie from 25ft on the par-three 17th to get back in front with one to play. There was still time for more drama on the 18th as Colsaerts’s approach pitched just inches away from the flag, spun back and caught the edge of the hole before finishing 12ft away. The Belgian could not find another birdie when it mattered and the US pair held on for the win.

J Dufner and Z Johnson lost to R McIlroy and I Poulter 1 hole

Dufner and Johnson got off to a flying start when Johnson birdied the first and McIlroy found water on the second before Poulter failed to get up and down from the edge of the green. Poulter reduced the deficit on the fourth but McIlroy’s birdie on the fifth after a superb bunker shot was matched by Dufner.The message had no doubt filtered through that victory was essential and after the 14th was halved with birdies, Poulter and McIlroy both hit superb bunker shots on the short 15th to guarantee a birdie that the Americans could not match and get back to all square.

Poulter was as pumped-up as ever and celebrated wildly when he made it four birdies in a row from 15ft on the 16th, while another clutch birdie putt from nine feet on the 17th had team-mate McIlroy shaking his head in admiration. Again the quality of golf was stunning in the gathering gloom and after Dufner holed for birdie from three feet, an inspired Poulter followed him in from three times the distance to complete a remarkable win.

B Watson and W Simpson bt J Rose and F Molinari 54

Poulter and Rose had won their second foursomes match on Saturday morning, but were split up for the fourballs in the hope they could inspire new partners to new heights. However, it took until the fifth hole for Europe to register a birdie – albeit Molinari being very close to making an eagle – and when Watson birdied the par-five seventh, the Americans were two up. Rose responded with a birdie on the eighth, only to see Simpson follow him in for a half, and the US Open champion did the same to Molinari on the ninth to stay two up at the turn. Simpson was putting superbly and made it four birdies in succession on the 10th and 11th to extend the lead and leave Rose and Molinari in major trouble.

Simpson rolled in another birdie on the 13th to move four ahead, with Watson happily reduced to being a virtual spectator at this point. Or perhaps not so happily, as the left-hander then smashed two massive shots onto the green on the 609-yard par-five 14th to set up the winning birdie in an emphatic win. “I did the par fives, he did the rest,” Watson said.

T Woods and S Stricker lost to S Garcia and L Donald 1 hole

After being left out of a session for the first time in either the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, Woods was restored to the line-up for the afternoon fourballs but was again struggling to get anything going with Stricker. After Garcia’s birdie on the first gave Europe the lead, Stricker found water off the tee on the second and Woods three-putted for bogey to fall two behind.

Woods was then way left off the tee and with his approach to the fourth, but Garcia made a 25ft birdie putt anyway before Stricker reduced the deficit courtesy of a superb eagle from 10ft on the fifth. Donald then decided to get in on the action and made birdies from a combined distance of seven feet on the eighth and ninth to move four up at the turn.

The standard of play in the fading light was phenomenal and Woods hit a superb tee shot to five feet on the 17th, only for Donald to hit it even closer for a matching birdie. Stricker had the chance to rescue half a point on the last but missed a birdie putt from seven feet as Europe held on.

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