Yet another electrifying and nail-biting series, the second set of fourballs, saw the United States come out on top 2 ½ -1 ½ and leave the overall score of The 34th Ryder Cup Matches tied at 8-8 going into the 12 final day singles.
Perfect conditions over the Brabazon Course at The De Vere Belfry, brought a flood of birdies with the lead swinging one way then the other in all four matches. Once again, Europe built positions of strength only to see the Americans fightback to snatch victories from the jaws of defeat.
In the top match in which Niclas Fasth was teamed with fellow Swede Jesper Parnevik, getting his first taste of action, against Mark Calcavecchia and David Duval, the Europeans got off to a great start to move three up after seven holes, but the Americans then piled on the pressure. They reeled off eight birdies in the next nine holes and although the Swedes’ took the match down the 18th thanks to a Fasth birdie at the 17th, Duval closed the match out for a one-hole victory.
Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, looking to become the first European pair ever to win all four of their matches, were locked in a thrilling encounter with Tiger Woods and Davis Love III that was packed with magnificent golf, a host of birdies and heart-stopping tension.
The Europeans were looking for their second win over Woods but there was never more than one hole separating them throughout. Both pairs were out in 32, then the Europeans got ahead for the first time when Garcia took on the famous tenth hole for the second day and found the green.
Westwood matched him, finishing nearer the pin, while the Americans took the safer route, laying up short of the water. Both Europeans missed their lengthy eagle putts but a Westwood birdie proved good enough to see he and Garcia ahead for the first time.
Although Woods reeled off four birdies in six holes, Garcia and Westwood claimed four between them to stay ahead, but the 17th proved pivotal. Garcia hit the green at the par five in two but three putted for par while Love holed a chip for birdie to square the match and take it down the last.
Then, with the Americans down in four, Westwood missed a tricky five footer to lose the point.
Europe’s only victory was achieved by Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington after a tremendous battle with Phil Mickelson and David Toms. The Europeans were out in 30 to be two-up and that lead was twice trimmed by Mickelson birdies. Montgomerie had the chance of sealing the victory at the 17th only to see his birdie putt spin out. But it proved good enough as both Mickelson and Toms missed their birdies and they shook hands with the Europeans home by 2 and 1. It left Montgomerie with three-and-a-half points from four matches.
In the bottom match, the Irish pairing of Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley were also involved in a colossal battle as they fought back from two down after 13 against Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk to level the match playing the 17th. But Hoch birdied the long par five and Clarke’s six foot putt for the half narrowly slipped past, leaving the United States pairing one up playing the last. But with the American’s both missing the green with their second shots McGinley was able to level the match with a par four and claim an invaluable half to square the series 8-8.