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Ryder Cup tied after foursomes

12:31 PM, Sep 28, 2012   |    comments
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Medinah, IL (Sports Network) - The United States and Europe split Friday morning's foursomes matches leaving the Ryder Cup tied 2-2 at Medinah Country Club.

In the opening match, the highly-talented European team of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell won the last hole to defeat FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk, 1-up.

The European side took the anchor match as Tiger Woods looked terrible for the American team. He and Steve Stricker fell, 2 & 1 to the English tandem of Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

Woods and Stricker never got on track. The Europeans won the second hole, then the U.S. answered, but Rose and Poulter took the fourth to move 1-up. Europe had the lead the rest of the way, although the Americans won a few holes throughout the match.

Woods looked particularly bad on Friday. He sprayed drives all over the course, was loose with irons and even missed some short putts.

Woods, despite his poor showing in foursomes, will be back out with Stricker in the afternoon four-balls.

The Americans got on the board first with the high-energy pairing of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. They handed Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia their first loss in foursomes ever, not just as partners, 4 & 3.

Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner picked up another point for the U.S. with a 3 & 2 victory over Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari.

The first match out turned testy very early.

McIlroy's tee ball at two landed near a sprinkler head and McDowell wanted relief. Furyk disagreed and the teams waited a long time for a second official to come out and decide.

McDowell was denied relief and the Europeans bogeyed the hole to fall 1-down.

The pair from Northern Ireland won three holes in a row from the ninth, thanks in no small part to some poor shots from Snedeker and Furyk. The Americans didn't give up.

The U.S. pair won 13, 15 and when the Snedeker rolled in a 4-footer for birdie at 16, the match was squared. The two teams halved the difficult, par-3 17th, but the Americans blinked first on 18.

Snedeker hit a terrible drive right. Furyk had to pitch back into the fairway, but McDowell played a weak second into a bunker. Snedeker's third for the team landed 25 feet short.

McIlroy blasted out to four feet. Furyk missed his par putt and was conceded bogey. McDowell stepped up and drained the par to get the full point for the European side.

"That match personifies the Ryder Cup," McDowell said on TV.

Mickelson and Bradley, long-time friends and practice-round partners, looked like they were having the time of their lives, and played like it.

Europe took a 1-up lead after eight, but Bradley drained an 8-foot birdie to win the ninth and square the match. Donald missed a 6-footer to halve 12 and the U.S. took the lead.

And Mickelson and Bradley didn't look back.

At the 245-yard, par-3 13th, Bradley hit a fantastic tee ball to 18 feet. Donald landed in a greenside bunker, but it hardly mattered. Mickelson poured in the birdie putt to move 2-up.

After a requisite chest-bump, they took the 14th after Garcia missed a 6- footer.

Bradley closed the door on the match with a 35-footer for birdie at 15. Donald had to hole out from a bunker to extend the match. He couldn't and the first point of the day belonged to an enthusiastic combination of Hall of Famer veteran and major-winning rookie.

"I love, love playing with this man," Mickelson said of his partner in a televised interview.

"It was one of the most memorable days of my life, so far," Bradley said.

Johnson and Dufner squared the match at the ninth, then won 10 to go 1-up. They won 15 after Westwood drove into the water and captured 16 when the Englishman missed a 10-foot par save.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson come off the bench for the Americans in the afternoon four-balls. They will meet Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie.

McIlroy and McDowell will go second for Europe against Mickelson and Bradley.

Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar also will see their first action for the American side when they meet Rose and Martin Kaymer in the third match.

Woods and Stricker take on Westwood and the long-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts in the anchor match.

The Sports Network

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