US chasing lead as weather hit Ryder Cup resumes

Newport: The United States will seek to seize the early initiative when day two of the weather-disrupted 38th Ryder Cup gets under way later Saturday with 10 matches to be decided.

A seven-hour rain delay on Friday meant none of the opening four matches of fourballs could be completed, prompting organisers to later announce a revised playing schedule in the hope of avoiding a Monday finish.

As darkness fell on the Celtic Manor course, the United States were leading in two of the fourballs to Europe’s one, while one match was all square.

The four matches will resume at 8:00am local time Saturday (0700 GMT) before being followed by six foursomes matches later in the day.

A third session of play will then comprise two foursomes and four fourballs, followed by the traditional 12 singles matches on Sunday, weather permitting.

However, officials admitted the tournament was at the mercy of the weather, and with more rain forecast for Sunday, the possibility of the event finishing on Monday for the first time in history was a possibility.

The problems with weather and the new schedule largely overshawdowed what unfolded on the waterlogged fairways and greens of Celtic Manor’s demanding Twenty Ten course on Friday.

The Americans, seeking to win the event on foreign soil for the first time in since 1993, recovered from a disastrous start to finish on top after earlier trailing in three of four matches before play was suspended.

A poor morning for the Americans was compounded by the embarrassing disclosure that their wet weather gear was leaking. Team officials scrambled to a merchandising stall at the event to buy replacement waterproofs.

US skipper Corey Pavin was delighted by the American fightback.

“I’m pleased and very proud of the guys for how we came back,” Pavin said.

The star of the show for the Americans was Pavin’s wildcard pick Stewart Cink, who produced some red hot putting to rattle in five birdies as his partnership with Matt Kuchar finished two-up after 12 holes against Northern Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

World number two Phil Mickelson also inspired a fightback with Dustin Johnson in a gripping game with European stars Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer in the opening fourball.

Westwood and US PGA champion Kaymer had got off to a flying start to go three-up after six holes.

But Mickelson conjured up a trio of birdies on the ninth, 10th and 11th to reduce the Europeans’ lead to to one hole with six holes remaining.

World number one Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were all square with Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher after 10 holes in the third game, while rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton were one up against Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.

Bureau Report