Rose and Stenson to lead off for holders Europe

Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:52pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Ryder Cups are known for being one of the most highly charged occasions in sport and the 41st edition is poised for an electrifying launch at Hazeltine National on Friday in the opening foursomes.

In a bid to give holders Europe a fast start to the biennial competition, captain Darren Clarke will send out golfing heavyweights Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson first in a mouth-watering matchup.

Olympic champion Rose and British Open winner Stenson, who went 3-0 when paired together at Gleneagles two years ago, will face sizzling American duo Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, two young guns who relish going toe-to-toe.

Twice major winner Spieth and Reed, aged 23 and 26 respectively, formed an unbeaten partnership as rookies at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland.

"Justin and Henrik are a very proven, successful Ryder Cup pairing," Clarke told reporters. "Both are very strong players ... they were always going to be my choice for leading Europe off in this match.

"That was never, never in doubt."

Reed was thrilled to be in the first match out, saying: "I'm pumped. To go up against Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, it's going to be a battle of four great golfers."

United States captain Davis Love III, like Clarke, always had a feeling that Spieth and Reed would face Rose and Stenson in the first match.   Continued...

Sep 29, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA; Team Europe captain Darren Clarke during Opening Ceremony for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports