Fisher leads Harrington back into the win column

Reliable rookie inspires experienced partner to first first full point since 2004

Ross Fisher enjoyed one of the great moments of his career yesterday afternoon as he won his first point in the Ryder Cup. If anything it was an even more important victory for Fisher's more illustrious partner, Padraig Harrington.

It was Harrington's first win under the intense scrutiny of the game's most fierce team competition for six years. Not since he beat Jay Haas in the singles at Oakland Hills in 2004 had the Irishman contributed a full point to the European cause.

Fisher and Harrington claimed one of only three victories for Europe in the first two sessions as this mud-splattered contest attempted to get back on schedule. They combined in a foursome to beat Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 3&2 to give the home supporters a rare moment of jubilation.

It hardly started promisingly after Fisher drove into a bunker at the first hole. Harrington's second shot struck the lip of the bunker and the ball rebounded back into the sand. A double bogey followed.

Earlier, in his first-ever Ryder Cup match, Fisher, alongside Ian Poulter, had the weighty assignment of taking on the unbeaten Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Harrington, only here thanks to the generosity of a wild-card pick from the European captain, Colin Montgomerie, had been paired with Luke Donald in the opening fourballs and Monty had publicly questioned the pairing of two rookies as their opponents.

The inevitable happened. The unheralded Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson won the first two holes on Friday and yesterday morning completed a famous 3&2 victory. Harrington did not make a birdie, which in fourball golf is a crime usually punishable by demotion to the bench.

Montgomerie had no such option with all 12 players from each team on the course for the second and third sessions. In any case, foursome golf is all about steadiness, and after their opening faux pas, Fisher and Harrington did not squelch a foot wrong. Their American opponents bogeyed the third and the fourth holes and had to come up with a two at the seventh to level the match. But it was at the eighth that it all changed. After a fine approach from Fisher, Harrington dribbled in his first birdie effort of the week and then Mickelson's putt for a half lipped out.

At the par-five ninth, Harrington's long birdie putt hit the hole and left a certain par, only for the Americans to three-putt. At the next the Irishman hit his tee shot at the par-three to 15 feet and Fisher holed for a two. In the space of three holes Europe had gone three-up.

Twice the home pairing had to halve in birdies to stay ahead, Harrington from 10 feet at the 11th and Fisher from six feet at the 15th. Fisher holed the winning putt at the 16th and seemed to be operating on the principle that as long as Harrington read the putts, he would hole them.

"It was an absolute pleasure and honour to play with a three-time major champion," Fisher said. "He took me under his wing and I needed all his help on the greens." But the feeling remained that it was Fisher's more reliable form that helped Harrington rediscover his Ryder Cup stride.

"There's a lot of pressure," Harrington admitted of being selected as a wild card ahead of more in-form players such as Paul Casey and Justin Rose. "Monty made a great decision to give me some responsibility in looking after Ross, who played fantastic. It made me step up my game."

After three Ryder Cup appearances, Harrington had the enviable record of seven wins, one half and fourlosses. He arrived here still with seven wins, but three halves and 11 defeats, which became 12 yesterday morning.

In 2006 he was meant to be the star of the Irish contingent at the K Club but won only half a point. If there was the consolation of a team victory, the same contribution at Valhalla two years ago had no such silver lining. Harrington admitted he was mentallyexhausted after winning back-to-back majors a few weeks earlier.

Harrington has not won a tournament since but Montgomerie wanted his experience in the team room, however controversial the decision. Fisherand Harrington were rewarded with leading off the second fourballsession, which will conclude this morning before the closing singles.

Four birdies in the first five holes was more like the fourball form that is required at this level, as shown by the fact that it put them only one-up on the new American pairing of Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson when play was suspended after eight holes. Europe's fightback had begun.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
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

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015