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Big afternoon gives U.S. Ryder Cup lead

6:25 PM, Sep 28, 2012   |    comments
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Medinah, IL (Sports Network) - The United States went 3-1 in Friday afternoon's four-ball session to lead 5-3 after the opening day of the Ryder Cup.

The lone European win Friday afternoon came thanks to rookie and captain's pick, Nicolas Colsaerts. He made eight birdies and an eagle to carry Lee Westwood to victory against the best American team, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, 1-up.

Woods, who played poorly in the foursomes, but well in the four-balls, and Stricker are 0-2 this Ryder Cup.

The U.S. jumped out early with some awesome play by Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. The reigning Masters and U.S. Open champions trounced Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson, 5 & 4.

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley have been the stars of the U.S. side. They are 2-0 and bested the top European team, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, 2 & 1 in the four-balls.

The other American point came from Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson, who handled Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer, 3 & 2.

After the morning foursomes left the two sides tied 2-2, the Americans pounced early with the two decisive victories in the first two four-ball matches.

Johnson and Kuchar closed out their match and the only one left featured Colsaerts and Westwood versus Woods and Stricker.

The Europeans, and more specifically Colsaerts, built a 2-up lead with three holes to play. Woods drained a 20-foot birdie putt at the 16th to win the hole. He pointed to the gallery, the next tee and flipped his putter at the bag, ready for the par-3 17th.

Stricker came up woefully short in the water at 17, but Woods knocked his tee ball to three feet. Colsaerts hit his to 30 feet and Westwood was in fairly close, just outside Woods' ball.

Colsaerts did it to the Americans again.

He ran home his long birdie putt to derail the U.S. team's chances of squaring the match. Woods tapped in his short birdie putt to halve the hole and move to 18, 1-down.

Woods and Stricker were in the fairway at 18, as was Colsaerts. Westwood also found the short grass on the right, but got there via a lucky bounce off the trees on the left.

Westwood and Stricker missed the green with their approaches. Colsaerts got on safely, but was far from the stick. Woods hit yet another great iron, this time 15 feet right of the hole.

Colsaerts made par for his team, then Stricker tried to hole his chip for birdie and a halve. He came up short and the stage was Woods'.

If his putt fell, he and Stricker would get and a halve and the U.S. would have a 3-point lead.

Woods' birdie putt slid narrowly by the hole and the Europeans got the full point.

MORE TO FOLLOW.

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