Clarke riding high as Europe charge towards victory

Darren Clarke, perhaps destined to hole the winning putt exactly six weeks after the death of his wife Heather, is two up on Zach Johnson in his singles match at the K Club, as he leads Europe towards victory.

Darren Clarke, perhaps destined to hole the winning putt exactly six weeks after the death of his wife Heather, is two up on Zach Johnson in his singles match at the K Club, as he leads Europe towards victory.

Paul Casey was also leading the European charge towards an historic third straight Ryder Cup victory. After finishing his foursomes match in spectacular fashion yesterday with a hole-in-one, Casey carried on where he left off in his singles against world number three Jim Furyk.

Four birdies in the first seven holes helped the Englishman into a four-hole lead at the turn in the second of the 12 singles matches on the course.

Leading 10-6 after winning each of the previous four sessions by a point, Europe needed just four more points from the 12 singles to retain the trophy, and four and a half to win it outright.

And shortly before 2pm they were well ahead of that target, leading in seven matches and down in just two.

Four years after performing the same role at The Belfry, Colin Montgomerie was tasked with getting Ian Woosnam’s side off to the perfect start and the Scot was two ahead of David Toms with four to play.

Montgomerie, who holed the winning putt in beating Toms at Oakland Hills in 2004, was two ahead after four but ran up a double-bogey six on the fifth before eight holes in a row were halved in par.

A birdie on the 14th – where Casey had his hole-in-one on Saturday – put Montgomerie two up and on course to maintain his unbeaten record in singles matches.

The shock of the day so far was Sergio Garcia, the winner of a maximum four points so far, go five down to an inspired Stewart Cink after just seven holes.

Cink birdied four of the first five but Garcia hit back to win the eighth and 10th and keep his hopes of a 100% record alive.

Robert Karlsson had won the opening hole against Tiger Woods but found himself two down to the world number one at the turn, while Ireland’s Paul McGinley was two up on rookie JJ Henry.

David Howell led Brett Wetterich and Jose Maria Olazabal was in front of Phil Mickelson.

Lee Westwood was reportedly running a high temperature but promptly started birdie-par-birdie to go two up on Chris DiMarco, while Padraig Harrington was one ahead of Scott Verplank in the final match.

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