Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer won for the eighth time in ten outings together as they steered the Rest of the World team to an early 3 ½ - 2 ½ lead over the United States after the opening foursomes in the UBS Cup at Kiawah Island’s Cassique Course, South Carolina, USA.
The Rest of the World have never won the UBS Cup but made a solid start thanks to a vital point from Montgomerie and Langer who only secured victory over Tom Kite and Ray Floyd when the Americans three putted the final hole.
Only Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara in the 1997 Ryder Cup have ever got the better of the Montgomerie and Langer in ten matches together but the European pair had to fight hard to claim their record intact. In seven Ryder Cup Matches they have won five, halved one and lost one and they have now won all three UBS Cup ties together.
Kite and Floyd birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, where Kite holed from a bunker, to keep the match all square playing the last and it was only a costly three putt by the US pair that gifted the match the Rest of the World Team. The two teams traded 13 birdies in a colossal match.
"When the draw comes out Tom Kite and Ray Floyd are two of the toughest competitors this games has ever seen,” said Montgomerie. “Age doesn’t come into it and their fighting spirit was shown when they birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th to stay all square. We were given the game at the last but it was a well fought contest.”
Langer added: “We enjoy each other’s company. It doesn’t always mean we will win, we just happen to have won more than we have lost. We play a similar game overall and like to interact well. That is good in foursomes.”
In the top match US Captain Arnold Palmer partnering Jay Haas secured a surprise half against Rest of the World Captain Gary Player and Mark McNulty as the two legends of the game refused to give in.
The third match on the course saw Hale Irwin and Fred Funk picked up a record eight birdies in their 5 and 3 victory over Sam Torrance and Barry Lane.
“Eight under par is tough to beat in foursomes but we are okay,” said Torrance. “It is a team event and the team is going okay.”
Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle were too strong for Tom Watson and Scott Hoch as they raced to a four and three victory, a score matched by Carl Mason and John Chillas against an out of sorts Curtis Strange and Craig Stadler.
The United States claimed the final match when Hal Sutton and Fred Couples defeated Peter Senior and Rodger Davis 3 and 2.