US feels the sting of Europe Ryder Cup fightback

Phil Mickelson looked for an emotional comeback Saturday by the United States at the Ryder Cup after squandering an early lead to trail Europe 5-3 after Friday`s opening matches.

AFP| Updated: Sep 27, 2014, 03:50 AM IST

Phil Mickelson looked for an emotional comeback Saturday by the United States at the Ryder Cup after squandering an early lead to trail Europe 5-3 after Friday`s opening matches.

Five-time major champion Mickelson and Keegan Bradley pushed their Cup win streak to four matches by edging world number one Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia 1-up in a morning fourball match as the Americans led 2 1/2 to 1 1/2.

But the US duo`s run was ended when Graeme McDowell and French rookie Victor Dubuisson beat them 3 and 2 in afternoon foursomes, a session in which the US team managed only a half point.

"I`m disappointed with the results but I`m not disappointed with the team," US captain Tom Watson said.

Mickelson struggled in the afternoon but was confident the Americans would rally in Saturday`s morning fourball and afternoon foursomes matches.

"This last one stung a little bit," said Mickelson. "We needed that point and we`ll have some work to do tomorrow.

"No matter who plays for us, and there are a lot of guys that are playing well even though we`re two points behind, we need to come and play well in the morning."

Those results will set the stage for Sunday`s 12 concluding singles matches as Europe seeks 14 points to keep the Cup and the US team 14 1/2 to reclaim the trophy.

"We`re only two points back. We`ve still got 20 points still to play," Bradley said. "We`re going to fight tomorrow. We`re going to try to get the lead."

Mickelson said energy was not a factor as the holes wore on, but he just made poor shots.

"I didn`t feel like I was out of gas as far as out of energy, but I stopped hitting good shots," Mickelson said.

"I didn`t play very well. I ended up not making putts that I normally would make and hitting some shots that I haven`t been hitting. I didn`t play the best."

The 44-year-old left-hander, making his US-record 10th Cup start, said his psoriatic arthritis was not a factor for bad play or keeping on gloves on a cold and windy day at Gleneagles.

"I haven`t felt the effects of that at all," Mickelson said. "I had the two gloves on because it was cold. I just like keeping my hands warm. I didn`t feel those effects. I haven`t had any symptoms on anything."

McIlroy and Garcia won the last two holes in the afternoon to halve with Rickie Fowler and US rookie Jimmy Walker, who won two of the last three holes in his early match to claim half a point.

McIlroy made a 40-foot birdie putt at 17 and Garcia hit a great approach at 18 to set up a hole-winning birdie to halve. 

"With what Rory and Sergio did just now, it`s a bit tough. But it was kind of out of our control," Fowler said. "Rory makes a great putt on 17 and Sergio hits a great shot into 18. We kind of had our hands tied behind our back there. Not a lot we could do.

"You talk about the range of emotion, you`re up one hole, down the next. It`s match play. You put things behind you so quickly. We`ll put today behind us."