Europe today claimed the first point in the rain-delayed Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor – but the United States led in the remaining three fourball matches.
Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer had looked the home side’s strongest pairing and so it proved as they beat Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 3&2 in the opening match.
However, the surprise rookie pairing of Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson were also closing in on victory in the bottom match against Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington, the American duo three up with five to play.
Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar were one up on Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy with four to play, largely on the back of five birdies from Cink.
And Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods were one up on Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher after Stricker chipped in from short of the 12th green for a winning birdie.
Westwood, playing his first match since August 6 after a calf injury which threatened his participation, said: “It’s good to be here, it makes the hard work and the rehab worth it.
“But like other Ryder Cups I picked a good partner. The atmosphere seems to get better – every green, every tee and down the fairways they are screaming your name. It’s unbelievable.
“Of course it’s nice to get the first point on the board, Monty sent us out with that intention and goal.”
Kaymer, who has won his last two tournaments – including the USPGA Championship - added: “You have goose bumps on pretty much every hole.
“Yesterday on the first five or six holes I was nervous, I was not used to the pressure, but then I took a nap and now I can’t wait to play the foursomes.”
Lee Westwood & Martin Kaymer win 3&2 against Phil Mickelson & Dustin Johnson