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U.S. opens 4-point lead at Ryder Cup

12:43 PM, Sep 29, 2012   |    comments
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Medinah, IL (Sports Network) - The United States went 3-1 in Saturday morning's foursomes matches and now owns an 8-4 lead at the Ryder Cup at Medinah.

After an 0-2 Friday, this was the first session Tiger Woods sat out in seven Ryder Cups, and the Americans didn't seem to miss him. It was the second consecutive session the U.S. went 3-1 after a great Friday afternoon four- balls.

The only match that went Europe's way was incredibly entertaining from the start.

On Friday afternoon, American Bubba Watson implored the crowd to keep cheering while he teed off.

On Saturday morning, European Ian Poulter did the same. In an electric scene, Poulter and Watson hit their tee balls amid thunderous ovations, but the European team prevailed. Poulter and Justin Rose beat Watson and Webb Simpson, the reigning Masters and U.S. Open winners, 1-up.

The first point of the morning went to the most dynamic pairing, Americans Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. These friends ran their record to 3-0 for the week and their 7 & 6 drubbing of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood matched the Ryder Cup record for biggest victory in a team match.

Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson picked up their second win of the week with a 2 & 1 victory over Sergio Garcia and Nicolas Colsaerts, who single-handedly beat Woods and Steve Stricker in Friday's four-balls.

The anchor match went the Americans way in a rematch of the first match of the week. Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker pulled out a 1-up victory over the highly- touted tandem of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

There is still plenty of golf left and 16 points at stake, but this is the biggest U.S. lead at this point in the competition since all of Europe was included on the team in 1979.

American captain Davis Love III stuck to his plan and will not have anyone play in all five sessions.

That meant he benched the red-hot team of Mickelson and Bradley. Furyk and Snedeker are both down as well and Woods and Stricker come back, as do Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson, winners themselves Friday afternoon.

European leader Jose Maria Olazabal will sit the struggling Lee Westwood in the four-balls. McDowell will also have the afternoon off and Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer won't play on Saturday.

The U.S. needs 14 1/2 points to win the Ryder Cup. Europe would retain in a 14-14 tie since it won the Cup two years ago.

The Sports Network