Barnstorming finish rescues McIlroy and Garcia from defeat

Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:02pm EDT
 
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia looked listless and flat against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker on Friday, but the Europeans did what great champions do in adversity.

The world numbers one and three appeared to be heading for their second defeat of the day, two down with two holes to go in the afternoon foursomes and with a partisan home crowd quietened almost to the point of silence.

Then, suddenly, and out of the European blue, McIlroy drilled in a 25-foot birdie putt at the 17th to bring the fans and the partnership to life.

Cries of 'Europe, Europe, Europe' rang around the Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary Course and the pair celebrated with a delighted hug and a high-five.

McIlroy and Garcia still needed another big effort to snatch a precious half-point and again it seemed unlikely as the 25-year-old Northern Irishman produced a wild drive that ended up behind a tree in the right rough.

This time, though, it was Garcia who came to the rescue, bending a glorious five-wood approach from left to right to within 12 feet of the pin.

The two Americans could only find a greenside bunker and, after Fowler failed to convert his birdie attempt from 18 feet, McIlroy safely two-putted to prompt another deafening chorus of approval from the galleries.

"I think that Sergio Garcia's and Rory McIlroy's halve was as good as a win," said Europe captain Paul McGinley with a beaming smile after the holders recovered a one-point deficit from the morning session to finish the day with a 5-3 lead.   Continued...

 
European Ryder Cup players Sergio Garcia (R) and Rory McIlroy line up a putt on the eighth green during their foursomes 40th Ryder Cup match at Gleneagles in Scotland September 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh