Records fall as Europe lead by point after birdie blitz

Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:21am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - The United States pegged Europe's lead back to one point after an extraordinary exhibition of shotmaking in a record-breaking morning fourball session at the 40th Ryder Cup on Saturday.

Hunter Mahan and rookie duo Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were the stars of the American team as the visitors picked up two wins and a half to close to 6-1/2 - 5-1/2 after starting the day with a 5-3 deficit.

However, the performance of the session came from Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. The two Europeans were a record 12-under-par for 16 holes as they outplayed Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar 3 & 2, carding an amazing 10 successive birdies.

Watson and Kuchar also lit up the Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary Course in a crackerjack tussle that featured a total of 21 birdies, another Ryder Cup record.

European talisman Ian Poulter, known as 'The Postman' because he always delivers in the biennial team event, produced a couple of moments of eye-popping magic as he and Rory McIlroy shared a half with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.

Mahan was another standout performer, finishing an estimated seven-under-par in the betterball format as he and Jim Furyk defeated Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood 4 & 3, but it was rookies Spieth and Reed who inspired the American effort for the second day running.

No doubt stung by captain Tom Watson's bizarre decision to drop them from Friday afternoon's foursomes after they had routed Poulter and Stephen Gallacher in the morning fourballs, the two young tyros this time battered Martin Kaymer and Thomas Bjorn 5 & 3.

The 24-year-old Reed and the 21-year-old Spieth wore a steely gaze throughout the contest and a tally of eight birdies from the two debutants proved too much for their European opponents.   Continued...

European Ryder Cup player Martin Kaymer (L) celebrates as he stands with U.S. Ryder Cup player Jordan Speith on the seventh green during their fourballs 40th Ryder Cup match at Gleneagles in Scotland September 27, 2014.      REUTERS/Phil Noble