Darren Clarke mixes up his team as Europe record electrifying start to day two

European captain Darren Clarke turned to Plan B as day two of the 41st Ryder Cup got off to an electrifying start at Hazeltine.

Darren Clarke mixes up his team as Europe record electrifying start to day two

European captain Darren Clarke turned to Plan B as day two of the 41st Ryder Cup got off to an electrifying start at Hazeltine.

Clarke's side fought back to trail 5-3 after being whitewashed in Friday's opening session, with none of the defeated foursomes pairings appearing again on Saturday morning.

Instead, Clarke kept two of his winning pairs from the afternoon fourballs together and split the other to allow Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose to partner rookies Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood respectively.

Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters were sent out first against Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, with Fowler holing from 25 feet for a birdie on the first after Mickelson's recovery from a fairway bunker.

Matthew Fitzpatrick and Henrik Stenson before their start today.
Matthew Fitzpatrick and Henrik Stenson before their start today.

However, Pieters calmly rolled in his own birdie putt from 15 feet and raised a finger to his lips to 'shush' the hostile home crowd, a gesture made famous by Patrick Reed at Gleneagles in 2014.

McIlroy then holed from a similar distance on the second to take the European pair into an early lead, although Stenson and Fitzpatrick lost the opening hole of match two to Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka after a poor approach from Stenson.

Speaking about his pairings, Clarke told Sky Sports: "These were options. Yesterday the (foursomes) pairings just did not quite fire.

"It was an opportunity to change things about and Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood have been playing well. Justin Rose and Henrik, as strong as they are together, the idea was maybe to split them in foursomes and help the others on, which they are happy to do.

"Would it have been easier (to play rookies) in fourballs? Maybe, but I have that much belief in them."

McIlroy and Pieters were gifted the fourth hole when Fowler shanked a bunker shot over the green and they were soon three up after Fowler's wild tee shot on the fifth finished up against a fence.

For the second time in two days Mickelson had to turn one of his clubs the wrong way round and play a shot right-handed, but the five-time major winner was unable to find the green and the hole was eventually conceded.

Rose and Wood had halved the first two holes against Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson, while Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello were one down to Reed and Jordan Spieth after the American pair birdied the first two holes.

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