GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Captain Fantastic Paul McGinley hailed “a great team performance” after Europe crushed the U.S. in the Ryder Cup foursomes for the second day running to gallop into a commanding 10-6 lead on Saturday.
The U.S., who trailed 5-3 overnight, edged a record-breaking fourballs by 2 1/2 points to 1 1/2 but the holders administered a blow to the solar plexus by taking 3 1/2 points in the afternoon on another extraordinary day in golf’s biggest grudge match.
Wildcard selection Lee Westwood, sent out in the opening foursomes with rookie Jamie Donaldson for the second successive day, repaid McGinley’s faith as the pair eased past Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar 2 & 1.
Westwood’s win helped him join the great Arnold Palmer on 23 Ryder Cup points, with only Nick Faldo (25), Bernhard Langer (24), Billy Casper (23 1/2) and Colin Montgomerie (23 1/2) ahead of him.
“I get a huge amount of satisfaction out of that,” a tearful Westwood told reporters. “There are no easy games out there and we only made one bogey which is pretty good going in foursomes.”
Graeme McDowell and debutant Victor Dubuisson also made it two victories out of two in the alternate-shot format as they romped to a 5 & 4 triumph over Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.
World numbers one and three Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia posted five birdies in 16 holes as they dismissed Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan 3 & 2 while Justin Rose combined with Martin Kaymer to halve their match with unbeaten rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
The American misery was summed up when Reed experienced the agony of missing a two-foot putt on the 16th green.
McGinley described his side’s two 3 1/2-point hauls this week from the foursomes as “really unusual”.
”We have been very lucky to have some wonderful partnerships,“ said the Irishman. ”We have a partnership in Jamie and Lee that has been very strong and another one in Victor and Graeme.
”That was a great team performance and I‘m a very happy captain with a four-point lead going into the singles...but obviously among the big words is complacency, not conceding momentum...that’s the most important thing.
“This job is far from finished. We’re in a great position but we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
McGinley’s battle-weary counterpart Tom Watson saluted the foursomes performance of the Europeans.
”In the infamous words of our President (Barack Obama) we got shellacked this afternoon,“ said the U.S. skipper. ”My team fought their guts out, they just didn’t live up to the standards that the Europeans did.
”They did it yesterday afternoon to us and they did it again this afternoon. It’s disappointing but when all is said and done it’s 10-6.
“As I recall there’s been a little bit of history with 10-6 comebacks, most recently the Europeans in 2012 and of course in 1999 at Brookline. The players are already talking about that,” said Watson.
Earlier, a 45,000 crowd was treated to a remarkable exhibition of fourballs golf.
Rose and Henrik Stenson, rested for the foursomes due to a back problem, were a record 12-under-par as they sank Watson and Kuchar 3 & 2 after carding an amazing 10 successive birdies.
Watson and Kuchar also lit up a crackerjack tussle that featured 21 birdies, another Ryder Cup record.
Ian Poulter produced a couple of trademark moments of eye-popping magic as he and McIlroy halved with Walker and Fowler.
Mahan and Furyk beat Westwood and Donaldson 4 & 3 while American rookie sensations Reed and Spieth battered Kaymer and Thomas Bjorn 5 & 3.
Overall, though, it is the Europeans who have one hand on the trophy as they bid for an eighth victory in 10 Ryder Cups.
“We’ve got a lot of really strong images in our team room, photos that have messages on the bottom of them and have been kind of doctored in a way to highlight it,” said McGinley.
”One particular one that comes to mind is right outside our team room, it’s a huge big one, probably two meters by three meters and it’s a picture of a European rock in the middle of a raging storm in the ocean.
“The message underneath is: ‘We will be the rock when the storm arrives’ and that storm arrived this morning.”
Editing by Ed Osmond