Ryder Cup: USA Take 5-3 Lead After First Day

Medinah, Illinois – Team USA stormed into a first day 5-3 lead in the 2012 Ryder Cup, after a powerful showing in the afternoon fourballs at the Medinah Country Club, Illinois.

USA and Europe had been tied at 2-2 following the morning foursomes, but some magnificent American performances – most notably from the partnerships of Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson – saw the USA team take home three of the four points on offer after lunch.

In the day’s most high profile match-up, Mickelson and Bradley comprehensively outplayed the Northern Irish duo of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, while Watson and Simpson gave Europe’s Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie a torrid time as they triumphed 5&4.

The American side will now enter the second day of the 2012 Ryder Cup with a significant advantage, and captain Davis Love III struggled to hide his delight when reflecting on the day to BBC Sport:

“Just everybody played real well and hung in there and had a lot of fun. Seemed like as the sun came out, we just got better and better.”

The contest is far from over, with eight extra points on offer when the foursomes and fourball formats are repeated on Saturday, and 12 during Sunday’s singles. Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal struck a defiant tone when he told reporters:

“The afternoon was tough. That last point [from Nicolas Colsaerts and Lee Westwood] was very important.”

And world number one McIlroy acknowledged that the scoreline after day one could have been worse for the Europeans:

“The afternoon session wasn’t that bad a result, looking at the scoreboard early on in the afternoon. We’re only two points behind with eight to play for on Saturday so we’re still in a decent position. We’re pretty strong on foursomes so if we get a good start in the morning and even things up that would be great.cThe atmosphere is incredible. You can feed off the energy but when people are cheering for the other guys you’ve just got to stay focused. It’s definitely nothing like Celtic Manor was a couple of years ago.”

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