Europe ready to become lords of the Manor after Westwood leads charge - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Europe ready to become lords of the Manor after Westwood leads charge

Montgomerie's men hold 9½ - 6½ advantage going into historic extra day as Woods and Mickelson fall well short once again.

The first Monday finish of the Ryder Cup will see the Americans attempt to achieve their own, slightly more positive, first. After a stunning European fightback which rivals any in the 83-year history of this match, Corey Pavin's men trail 9½ - 6½. Never before on away soil has either of the teams come back from such a large deficit going into the climatic 12 singles.

No, the forecast for the Starred and Striped is not good, but blessedly the evil rain is predicted to stay away. For Saturday night and Sunday morning it poured and poured, meaning there was no chance of the traditional denouement. Yet as the debate continued to rage of the absurdity of staging the game's most-watched event in a Welsh valley in October, an enthralling encounter brought a much-needed distraction to all the recrimination.

And by taking the third session (four fourballs and two foursomes) by the ridiculously one-sided scoreline of 5½ - ½, Colin Montgomerie's believers have made themselves huge favourites to retain the trophy they would have lifted for six of the last eight matches. Expect the big Scot to blub, in between sounding even more Churchillian.

Yet there can be no doubt the on-course leader is Lee Westwood. For the sixth time out of seven head-to-heads in the Ryder Cup, the Englishman beat Tiger Woods. Indeed, the world No 3 trounced the No 1, inflicting on the fallen idol a 6&5 embarrassment, his biggest beating.

Westwood rushed back out to see his team-mates at first struggle to protect the overnight advantage which saw up in all six games. But then in the final 90 minutes came their second surge which has most probably taken the match beyond the visitors.

When the singles tee-off at 9.05am, Pavin's men will doubtless be looking to the example of Brookline in 1999 when they grabbed the glory from a 10-6 reversal. But that was conjured with the most hostile crowd in the Ryder Cup spurring them on. Today, when the singles begin (fog-willing) there will be a Welsh chorus ringing out "Olé, Olé" on every tee, every fairway and every green.

At least the US will console themselves with the thought it could be worse and today's exhilaration could have been yet more intimidating.

Alas this will be no People's Monday as only the Sunday and ticket-holders will be admitted to the singles. The organisers weren't admitting it but they are anticipating no more than half of yesterday's attendance. What a shame, what a disgrace even, that a showdown which has provided so much spectacular light through all that depressing gloom will not be seen by a capacity. Yesterday's electric atmosphere should have been a mere taste of the euphoria to come. Saying that, they had so much to cheer as the four and a half hours they did get to watch yesterday – after being locked out in the morning – was vintage Ryder Cup. The momentum swung with the volatility unique to this event. First the Euros, then the US, then the US again. Twenty20 golf at the Twenty Ten.

As soon as play resumed Zach Johnson holed a 40-footer on the eighth and so the feverish tone was set. What followed was an afternoon of spectacularly celebrated highlights and, in the opening acts of this delicious drama, it was the US lighting the fireworks.

The Europeans had been warned by their captain. "The Americans will come out fast, you come out faster," was the note Montgomerie pinned to the team-room wall. As it proved, they initially laboured to keep up.

Jeff Overton holed with a wedge from 100 yards on the eighth and for half of a minute was a contortion of body-pops and fist-pumps. His partner, Bubba Watson, was even more animated, jabbing into the air for a full minute. Yet perhaps the prize for ecstatic improvisation went to young Rickie Fowler who actually tried to high-five a marshall when chipping in for an eagle from an almost impossible position in the bunker on the 11th. "USA! USA!" bounced around the valley

It was punctuated with European yelps, most significantly when Westwood converted his own 40-footer on the 10th. It was the stand-out moment in a display packed with them. Even allowing for the fact that partner Luke Donald's foursomes record now stands at played six, won six, the performance of Westwood should not be underestimated. He has not played for seven weeks because of calf injury and was clearly feeling the effects of fatigue on Saturday. He has become the new Monty.

They couldn't all follow, as the US launched their resurgence. The scoreboard remained a sea of blue (an insensitive analogy) for a little while but then in two hours the Europeans won one hole between them – and that was when Dustin Johnson three-putted for a birdie. It seemed Pavin's men would hold the advantage going into the extra day, but then after the barren hours came the golden three minutes which heralded the U-turn.

First, Francesco Molinari drove the par-four 15th and his two putts clawed back an all-square scoreline for himself and his brother, Edoardo, over Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar. Then Ross Fisher holed a 12-footer on the 17th, meaning he and Padraig Harrington could hug for the second time in as many days, with Jim Furyk and the hapless Dustin Johnson the victims. Then Miguel Angel Jimenez dropped an 18-footer on the 16th par four he could barely reach to grasp the lead over Watson and Overton. The rookies were suddenly heads down rather than hands up.

A home march had been bugled and so they strode to the clubhouse knocking aside Yankees in the process. The only resistance came from Cink and Kuchar but even they were denied. Francesco had missed short putts all day but in the shadow of the clubhouse and under the biggest gaze in golf he at last found the centre of the cup from three feet to make the birdie which earned the brothers their half. What a crushing blow that was.

A three-shot cushion is so much more comfortable than two points, particularly when so many of Pavin's big guns are misfiring. Mickelson has lost all three games and with 17 defeats in his Ryder Cup career is now, officially, America's biggest loser. He and Woods must restate their quality today or else the curtain will drop. And drop early.

Weekend results

Saturday

Fourballs (European pairings first)

Match 1 L Westwood & M Kaymer bt P Mickelson and D Johnson 3&2

Match 2 R Mcllroy & G McDowell halved with S Cink and M Kuchar

Match 3 I Poulter & R Fisher lost to S Stricker & T Woods 2 down

Match 4 L Donald & P Harrington lost to B Watson & J Overton 3&2

(Europe 1.5, USA 2.5)

Foursomes

Match 5 E Molinari & F Molinari lost to Z Johnson & H Mahan 2 down

Match 6 L Westwood & M Kayner halved with J Furyk and R Fowler

Match 7 P Harrington & R Fisher bt P Mickelson and D Johnson 3&2

Match 8 M A Jimenez & P Hanson lost to T Woods & S Striker 4&3

Match 9 I Poulter & L Donald bt B Watson & J Overton 2&1

Match 10 G McDowell & R Mcllory lost to S Cink & M Kuchar 1down

(Europe 4, USA 6)



Sunday

Foursomes

Match 11 L Donald & L Westwood bt S Stricker & T Woods 6&5

Match 12 G McDowell & R Mcllroy bt Z Johnson and H Mahan 3&1

Fourballs

Match 13 P Harrington & R Fisher bt J Furyk & D Johnson 2&1

Match 14 P Hanson & MA Jimenez bt B Watson & J Overton 2 up

Match 15 E Molinari & F Molinari halved with S Cink & M Kuchar

Match 16 I Poulter & M Kaymer bt P Mickelson & R Fowler 2&1

(Europe 9.5, USA 6.5)



* Only once in the last 15 years has the team trailing ahead of the singles matches gone on to win. USA overturned a 10-6 deficit in 1999 to win 14.5-13.5. Europe have won the last two competitions in which they led going into the singles.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'I felt like that was the lowest I’d ever felt'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
News
A plane flies close to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano
newsAnd yes, it's quite something
Sport
Tito Vilanova passed away aged just 45
footballThe club's former manager died in April, less than a year after he stood down
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch
artAnd it's even for a good cause
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Life and Style
techCriminals are targeting an e-reader security flaw
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
newsBut just how much does a 122-carat coloured diamond go for these days?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week