Europe draw level with United States at Ryder Cup

Newport: Europe, inspired by Lee Westwood, drew level with holders the United States at 6-6 overall after claiming the first two points of the unfinished third session at the weather-hit Ryder Cup.

Westwood and Luke Donald, four up on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker after nine holes overnight, rattled up three consecutive birdies before completing a crushing 6&5 foursomes win over the heavyweight American duo.

Northern Irishmen Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy then collected Europe`s second point of the day by beating Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan 3&1 in their foursomes.

With the Ryder Cup about to make its first Monday finish ever at a saturated Celtic Manor, Europe were up in three and down in one in the four fourball matches on the course.

Westwood gave the British partnership a major lift when he drained a 40-foot birdie putt at the 10th before he and Donald went on to inflict the biggest defeat of Woods`s Ryder Cup career.

The world number one`s previous worst result was a 5&3 defeat by Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer at Valderrama in 1997 when Mark O`Meara was his partner.

"That putt Westy holed on 10 was just magnificent," Donald told reporters. "I can`t even put it into words. It was amazing to see that go in and to go five up just gave us a huge boost.”

"It was nice to go out there and show they are beatable," he added, Woods and Stricker having won their first two matches this week.

World number three Westwood, a talismanic figure for the European team this week, said: "When you`re playing Tiger you just seem to up your game a little bit.

"We played great today. That was some scoring in foursomes combinations."

Westwood and Donald were five under after 13 holes in the alternate-shot format.

Blue Numbers

With blue numbers dominating the board overnight, European captain Colin Montgomerie had urged his team to maintain momentum on the third day and his players were delivering.

Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher were two up on Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson after 14 holes while Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez were one up on Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton after 13.

Overton, however, produced one of the most memorable celebrations of the week when he holed out from the fairway to eagle the par-four eighth, his ball spinning back into the cup from three feet.

The jubilant American immediately yelled: "Yeah, c`mon, yeah, yeah, c`mon, wow!" before slapping hands with his partner Watson and adding: "C`mon, yeah!"

In the bottom fourball match, Britain`s Ian Poulter and German Martin Kaymer were one up on Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler after 12 holes in a tight contest.

The Americans, who had trailed in all six matches overnight, managed to reverse momentum in the fifth encounter where Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar were one up on Italians Edoardo and Francesco Molinari after 13 holes.

Weather-permitting, the concluding 12 singles will start at 0905 local time (0805 GMT) on Monday.

Bureau Report