Europe looking to battle back

9/29/2012 3:53:33 PM
Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)
Ian Poulter (Getty Images)
European Captain José María Olazábal was hoping for a big turnaround in the morning foursomes as the United States continued to hold the upper hand on day two of The Ryder Cup at Medinah.

Olazábal's side trailed 5-3 after the first day and were thankful to a simply stunning performance from rookie Nicolas Colsaerts, who carried Lee Westwood to victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, for being that close.

"I'm going to make it clear to the boys that they need to step it up. They need to play better golf, simple as that," Olazábal said.

"There are no secrets about this game. You have to make more birdies than your opponent and if you don't do that, you're going to struggle. We do have to change the momentum."

Unfortunately for Olazábal, the momentum remained firmly with the home side in Saturday morning's foursomes as they quickly led in all four matches - with unbeaten pairing Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley again leading the way.

After beating Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald in foursomes - ending the pair's unbeaten record in the format - and Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in fourballs, Mickelson and Bradley faced Donald and Westwood this morning and were four up after seven holes.

The other three matches were tighter affairs, but McIlroy and McDowell were two down after five to Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, who they had beaten on the 18th on Friday, while Colsaerts and Garcia were one down after six to Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

In the first match out, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose were one down to Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, although the contest may always be remembered more for the rousing scenes on the first tee.

Masters Tournament champion Watson had encouraged the crowds to forego their usual silence and cheer and shout while he teed off in the first fourballs match on Friday afternoon.

And despite having to hit the opening shot in Saturday's first foursomes at 7:20am local time, Poulter delighted the fans by deciding to follow suit.

Poulter's drive found a fairway bunker but Rose hit a brilliant shot to four feet for a winning birdie.

The lead did not last long as they lost the third and fifth to birdies, but perhaps crucially the European pair escaped with a half on the seventh despite Poulter fluffing a chip into a greenside bunker, and also halved the next with a bogey four to remain just one down.

Poulter and Rose got back on level terms with a birdie on the ninth and went in front when a par was good enough on the par five tenth, with Watson hitting a wild approach way right of the green.

Watson made amends with a curling birdie putt on the 11th, but Poulter crucially followed him in and celebrated by thumping his chest repeatedly as he once more relished being in the heat of Ryder Cup battle.

The second match was not looking good for Europe and Donald and Westwood, six down after ten, were trying to avoid a record defeat and perhaps take some more energy out of their opponents, who were surely set to play again in the afternoon.

But the last two matches were still in the balance as Garcia and Colsaerts remained one down at the turn and McIlroy and McDowell trailed Furyk and Snedeker by the same margin after a par was good enough to win the eighth.