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Europe fight back to lead first day 5-3

September 26, 2014

Europe produced a stirring fightback to win three and halve one of their Ryder Cup foursomes matches against the United States and take a 5-3 lead after a typically tense, fluctuating and hugely entertaining first day on Friday.

Lee Westwood, playing his ninth Ryder Cup, and rookie Jamie Donaldson played some of the best golf of the day to beat Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar 2-up in the alternate shot format.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson got their second point with an impressive two-up victory over Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson having earlier hammered Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 5 & 4.

Victor Dubuisson, another debutant, and Graeme McDowell were too strong for Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, who had beaten world numbers one and three Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia on the last hole in the fourballs.

Europe's strongest-looking team were off the pace almost all day but finished with two brilliant birdies on 17 and 18 to salvage a half against rookie Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, who themselves came from three-down to halve with Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer in the morning.

The U.S, seeking a first win on foreign soil since 1993, had taken the morning fourballs 2-1/2 points to 1-1/2 after the gusting conditions left many players struggling.

That group did not include American rookie duo Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, however, as they silenced the usually ebullient Ian Poulter and Scottish new boy Stephen Gallacher with a crushing 5 & 4 win.

Defending champions Europe ended the day two points ahead of the Americans with Saturday's fourballs and foursomes to come before Sunday's 12 singles matches.

Scores

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