Europe closes gap on United States in Ryder Cup

The United States leads Europe 7-5 in the 37th Ryder Cup after Saturday's morning foursomes at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Americans started the day with a commanding three-point lead but Europe has cut the deficit to two after winning two of the four matches on the course and sharing a third, reported dpa.

European captain Nick Faldo caused a surprise by omitting Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood but Ian Poulter and Justin Rose gave the defending champions the perfect start, taking the opening foursomes against Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell comfortably four and three.

Poulter and Rose started strongly and were five up after seven holes but Campbell sank a birdie putt at the 10th to pull one back and the Americans also won the 12th and the 13th to reduce the deficit to just two.

But the European pair closed the door on any recovery by winning the 14th and 15th to secure the point with three holes to spare.

"America had their day yesterday and we are here in good spirit," said Faldo. "Golf is amazing, isn't it, it is unbelievable. I put some fresh legs out and let's see how we do in the afternoon."

In the second match out on the course, Graeme McDowell, who was partnering Miguel Angel Jimenez, sank a birdie putt on the 18th to secure what could turn out to be a vital half point against Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan.

"It is so tough to win a point out here," said McDowell. "It was really really good to come back and get something out of the match."

The performance of the morning came from Europeans Henrik Stenson and Oliver Wilson, who came from four down after six holes against Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim to win 2 and 1 thanks to a 10-metre birdie putt from Wilson on 17.

"The turning point was getting one back on the par 5," said Wilson. "Just to get one back and start going in the right direction. We stayed patient on the first nine but it did just not go our way."

In the final foursomes match of the morning Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry got off to a dream start against Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson, winning four of the opening five holes.

The Europeans won six and seven to give themselves hope but Furyk and Perry steadied themselves, sealing a 3 and 1 victory with a birdie on the par-4 17th.

The Ryder Cup continues later Saturday with four fourball matches. Europe needs 14 points to retain the Ryder Cup while the US requires 14.5 to win the trophy for the first time since Brookline in 1999.

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