Harrington takes one small step for Europe

His last win was not quite as long ago as the moon landing, but Padraig Harrington finally took one small step for Europe and one giant leap for himself at the Ryder Cup today.

Under intense pressure after being preferred to Paul Casey and Justin Rose and then playing poorly in his opening game at Celtic Manor, Harrington finally tasted victory again when he went back out.

Switching from Luke Donald to Ross Fisher as his partner, the Irishman beat Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 3&2 - Harrington's first point since the 2004 singles in Detroit.

And how Colin Montgomerie's side needed it as the event tried to make up for lost time.

Down by a point after the four opening fourballs - delayed seven hours by rain on Friday - in the morning, they then lost the six foursomes by the same margin.

That did not end the day's play, though.

With the Americans 6-4 up two more foursomes and four fourballs began at 4.10pm - a crucial passage that was bound to spill into Sunday.

Europe's other winners in the second session were Donald and Ian Poulter, who beat Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson 2&1 after Donald's magnificent four iron to under three feet at the 17th.

"Fantastic," Poulter said of a shot which gave Donald his fifth win out of five in Ryder Cup foursomes.

The same word could not be used for Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell's finish against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar, however.

In a rematch of a fourball half, the Ulster pair were one up with three to play. They bogeyed the 16th, McIlroy missed from under five feet at the next after Cink had holed from 25 and the 21-year-old then duffed his pitch to the par-five last into sand.

Harrington praised Montgomerie for putting him with Fisher.

"He made a great decision," he said. "He gave me the responsibility to look after Ross and it made me step up a bit.

"The atmosphere is electric. The supporters realise things are very tight - they all are, but this looks particularly tight."

Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, Europe's only winner in the first session, led Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler all the way from the second until the final green.

Furyk's pitch over the lake to three feet there enabled him and his partner to get out of the game with a half - and therefore not dwell quite so long over a rules blunder on the fourth.

Last weekend's £7million winner Furyk drove into mud and debutant Fowler was given a free drop, but he used a ball from his pocket rather than the one in play and that was loss of hole.

First pair to record two wins were Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker - and that, of course, follows their perfect four out of four at the Presidents Cup last year.

Woods is still miles away from his best form, but Stricker was a tower of strength as they beat Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez 4&3.

That was the first game for Hanson and Jimenez and the introduction of Italians Edoardo and Francesco Molinari - the first brothers to play since 1963 - saw them lose as well.

They took Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan to the last, but were beaten by two holes.

Earlier Westwood and Kaymer had led the opening game of the match from the second hole over 24 hours earlier and recorded a 3&2 victory over Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

McIlroy and McDowell then came two down after 11 to grab a half with Cink and Kuchar, McIlroy making a seven-footer at the 13th and a dramatic 30-foot putt for another birdie two on the 17th - accompanied by the biggest roar of the field so far.

Cink and McIlroy were both in the lake at the last - twice actually - and McDowell almost spun back in, but it was shared in par fives.

Donald and Harrington trailed throughout to Watson and Overton, Overton's putting being largely responsible for a 3&2 margin that made them the first rookie pair to win in the opening session since compatriots Andy Bean and Lee Elder in 1979.

That left Poulter and Fisher to try to square their match and the fourballs, but, despite Woods totally duffing his chip after going way left of the green on the 18th, Stricker was there again for him.

Montgomerie said: "We need a minimum 4-2 out of this session. We must go into the singles 8-8.

"All I can do is give them passion - motivation was losing two years ago - and want. They've got to want this and by God they do."

Europe showed that by drawing first blood in the first three games back onto the course - Harrington and Fisher against Furyk and Dustin Johnson, Hanson and Jimenez against Watson and Overton and then Donald and Westwood versus the unbeaten Stricker and Woods.

The fightback gathered momentum and once all six games had completed at least one hole Europe were up in five of them.

The only pair trailing were the Molinaris after Kuchar birdied the first.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?