x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

United States continue to surge ahead in Ryder Cup

Hosts extend lead over Europe to 8-4 as Tiger Woods is benched for the first time.

Bubba Watson high-fives fans as the American walks up the first fairway during a foursomes match at the Ryder Cup today. David J Phillip / AP Photo
Bubba Watson high-fives fans as the American walks up the first fairway during a foursomes match at the Ryder Cup today. David J Phillip / AP Photo

The United States clamped a stranglehold on the 39th Ryder Cup today taking the second session of foursomes 3-1 for an overall lead of 8-4.

It could have been even worse for the Europeans as at one stage they appeared to be heading for a humiliating clean sweep against them before Ian Poulter and Justin Rose hit back to grab a point.

Davis Love III's men opened the second day's play with a good lead of 5-3 after Friday' two opening sessions and with Tiger Woods benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career.

Once again it was the red-hot pairing of nine-cap veteran Phil Mickelson and pumped-up rookie Keegan Bradley who led the charge, lashing top European pair of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood by 7 and 6.

That equalled the highest 18-hole winning margin in Ryder Cup history and was the first time that such a drubbing had been handed out since 1991. It was a huge blow to Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal who had put the two English former world No.1s together in a bid to underpin a fightback.

"This is the most exhilarating experience of all my Ryder Cups," said Mickelson, who won three straight team points for the first time in his Ryder Cup career.

"I've played now in a number of events and to see his (Bradley's) youthful excitement gets me excited. He's just got me fired up and it's been really fun for both of us."

There was some respite for Europe as Rose and Poulter held firm at the last to defeat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 1 up, with Simpson watching a 10-footer to win the hole and halve the contest slip narrowly past.

But the last two of the morning foursomes went the US way as their momentum gained strength.

Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson made it 7-4 when Nicolas Colsaerts, playing with Sergio Garcia, hit his tee shot into the water at the spectacular par-three 17th. The Americans took the full point 2 and 1.

And then Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker turned the tables on Northern Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, who beat them in the lead match on Friday morning.

Leading from the first hole, the Americans managed to keep their noses in front and they secured the win when McIlroy's putt from the edge of the 18th green slipped an inch past.

Olazabal was left with the task of regrouping his players for the four afternoon fourballs, knowing that they would need to at least regain some ground to have any chance of retaining the cup in Sunday's closing singles.

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