Gutsy Europe hit back against U.S. at Ryder Cup

Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:11pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson inspired a bold fightback by holders Europe in Friday afternoon's fourball matches before the United States ended a gripping first day at the Ryder Cup with a 5-3 lead.

Badly bruised after being swept 4-0 by the Americans in the morning's foursomes at Hazeltine National, the Europeans showed great strength of character as they won the second session 3-1 with some sparkling golf in dazzling afternoon sunshine.

"The guys were disappointed with the way they played this morning and the way they performed, but they showed tremendous bravery and heart and desire to go out and play the way they have done this afternoon," said Europe captain Darren Clarke.

England's Olympic champion Rose and British Open winner Stenson, who went 3-0 together at Gleneagles two years ago, set the tone at the top of the order with a commanding 5&4 victory over American young guns Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

The European duo had lost 3&2 to Spieth and Reed in the morning but gained immediate revenge as Rose made six birdies on his ball and Stenson seven to earn their team a much-needed first blue point of the week in front of boisterous fans.

"They certainly are tough to beat but Henrik and I did what we do best, we stuck in there ... and made a bunch of birdies," said 2013 U.S. Open champion Rose.

"We didn't really put a foot wrong tee-to-green this morning, but we didn't make any putts. This afternoon, brilliant. We obviously got running and dovetailed really well."

Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello held off late resistance from JB Holmes and Ryan Moore to win 3&2 before Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Cup rookie Thomas Pieters of Belgium beat Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar 3&2.   Continued...

Sep 30, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA;  Justin Rose of England reacts on the first tee in the morning foursome matches during the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports