LEE WESTWOOD became the joint fifth highest Ryder Cup points scorer of all time as Europe left the United States reeling on the ropes after another extraordinary day in golf’s biggest grudge match on Saturday.
The U.S., who trailed 5-3 overnight, edged a record-breaking morning fourballs by 2 1/2 points to 1 1/2 but the holders administered a blow to the solar plexus by taking 3 1/2 points from the afternoon foursomes to open a commanding 10-6 overall lead.
Wildcard selection Westwood, sent out in the opening foursomes with rookie Jamie Donaldson for the second successive day, repaid the faith of captain Paul McGinley as the pair eased past Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar 2 & 1.
Westwood’s win helped him join the great Arnold Palmer on 23 Ryder Cup points, with only Nick Faldo (25), Bernhard Langer (24), Billy Casper (23 1/2) and Colin Montgomerie (23 1/2) ahead of him.
“I get a huge amount of satisfaction out of that,” Westwood told reporters. “There are no easy games out there and we only made one bogey which is pretty good going in foursomes.”
Donaldson paid tribute to the 41-year-old Westwood who is appearing in his ninth consecutive Ryder Cup.
“When you know your partner keeps holing out like a rock it makes it a lot easier,” said the Welsh rookie.
Graeme McDowell and debutant Victor Dubuisson also made it two victories out of two in the alternate-shot format as they romped to a 5 & 4 triumph over Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.
World numbers one and three Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia posted five birdies in 16 holes as they dismissed Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan 3 & 2 while Justin Rose combined with Martin Kaymer to halve their match with unbeaten rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
It’s eerily similar to the score at this stage two years ago at Medinah where Europe looked dead and buried going into Sunday as they faced a 10-6 deficit to the United States.
Former Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie, however, does not believe a similar fightback will occur, telling Sky Sports: “I can’t see Europe losing this.”
Europe captain Paul McGinley is thrilled with how things are going, understandably. “The guys were brave again,” he said. “It was a strong American performance this morning but we came out this afternoon in the foursomes, and wave after wave we performed again. Collectively as a team everyone has pulled their weight and we’ve come together.”
The world now awaits the announcement of tomorrow’s singles line-up with baited breath.