Ryder Cup 2014: United States reduce Europe's lead to one point
Last updated on .From the section Golf
Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter grabbed a vital half to keep Europe in front 6½-5½ after a strong United States fightback in the Saturday morning fourballs at Gleneagles.
The European duo pegged back Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker on the final green to prevent America drawing level following two earlier wins.
Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan beat Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood 4&3, and Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth defeated Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer 5&3 as the USA threatened to dominate.
|Saturday's foursomes (Europe first)|
|Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson won 5&4 v Bubba Watson & Webb Simpson|
|Thomas Bjorn & Martin Kaymer A/S Rickie Fowler & Jimmy Walker|
|Stephen Gallacher & Ian Poulter lost 5&4 to Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed|
|Rory McIlroy & Ian Poulter halved Jimmy Walker & Rickie Fowler|
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson won their third straight point in a thrilling opening match with a 3&2 win against Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, but it required some Poulter magic to turn around the final group.
The Englishman, Europe's top points scorer in the last three Ryder Cups, was out of sorts alongside world number one McIlroy, who largely carried his side in a tight battle against Walker and Fowler.
The Americans, who had halved both of their previous matches, went one up for the first time at the 13th, but Poulter revived memories of his fist-pumping and eye-bulging of two years ago with a chip-in for a crucial half on the 15th and a birdie on the 16th to get back to all-square.
Still level going up the last, both Europeans secured a birdie four leaving Fowler a 20ft eagle putt for the match, which he missed.
"I made a couple of quick birdies to start the match off, which was great, and then fell asleep in the middle," said Poulter.
Leading 5-3 overnight, Europe struck the first blow on Saturday when Rose and Stenson set a new Ryder Cup record for a fourball match of 12 under in their thrilling win over Masters champion Watson and Kuchar. The 21 under collectively for both sides was another record and was testament to the quality of play.
Europe trailed by two after six but Stenson's birdie on seven - and a long Rose birdie putt on eight sparked Europe's renaissance. The Englishman holed a putt from off the green on the 10th for a good half, and when Stenson dropped a curling 20-footer on the 12th, the Europeans took the lead for the first time.
|Saturday's fourballs (Europe first)|
|Jamie Donaldson & Lee Westwood v Zach Johnson & Matt Kuchar|
|Sergio Garcia & Rory McIlroy v Jim Furyk & Hunter Mahan|
|Martin Kaymer & Justin Rose v Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed|
|Victor Dubuisson & Graeme McDowell v Jimmy Walker & Ricky Fowler|
Rose added another to win the 13th and sealed an absorbing match with a further birdie on 16, but the scoreboard was all red behind.
"From start to finish, we played well and they played well but it's unheard of to finish with 10 birdies in a row," said Rose, who sunk a series of improbable putts to take his overall Ryder Cup record to an impressive nine wins and three defeats.
"I was forcing myself to stay in the zone, it's so hard to come by when it gets like that and you just don't want to burst your bubble."
"It was it was one-half Stenson, one-and-a-half part Rose," said Stenson, who was given a break for the afternoon to rest his sore back.
"Justin played phenomenally all week, and luckily I was there to back him up on a couple of occasions."
Furyk and Mahan went ahead at the first and never let the Europeans - who combined for a point on Donaldson's debut on Friday - get back to as much as level.
Spieth and Reed, upset at being left out of the Friday foursomes, followed up their opening 5&4 win with another resounding effort against Danish veteran Bjorn and US Open champion Kaymer of Germany.
"We're both such good mid-to-long range putters that all we need to do is give ourselves chances and they're going to go in. We were a little upset at not making certain putts but ultimately our mental game kept us in the game early and then we warmed up," said Spieth.
But in a third finish on the 18th for McIlroy, the Europeans dug out a vital half point to stem the American tide.
|2014 Ryder Cup on the BBC|
|Venue: Gleneagles, Scotland Dates: 26-28 September Start times: 07:35 and 13:15 BST on Friday and Saturday and 11:36 BST on Sunday.|
|Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Highlights on BBC Two.|