Tiger Woods is attracting plenty of attention in Paris. Picture: AP
Tiger Woods is attracting plenty of attention in Paris. Picture: AP

USA stunned as Europe pull off Ryder Cup comeback

EUROPE have produced a barnstorming Ryder Cup comeback as they swept the US in the alternate ball foursomes to take an overnight 5-3 lead.

Leading 3-1 following the morning fourballs, the Americans were then left shell-shocked as the home side blitzed the foursomes in the afternoon session.

It was the first time Europe had won all four foursomes matches - having suffered a 4-0 reverse in the format en route to defeat in Hazeltine two years ago - and their first sweep in either format since 1989.

But it was not just the points tally that will have sent European captain Thomas Bjorn off to dinner on a high, but the crushing nature of the victories.

The home team's clean ball striking enabled them to deal much better with the strong wind that developed through the afternoon as many of the big-name Americans fell apart.

None of the foursomes matches reached the 17th green, with two finishing on the 14th, as the Europeans bounced back superbly to give their fans plenty to cheer after they had been quietened by the morning setback at Le Golf National near Paris.

Sergio Garcia and rookie Alex Noren led the way by annihilating Phil Mickelson and Bryson Dechambeau 5 and 4 and it could have been even more emphatic as they led by seven after a front-nine birdie-fest.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson resumed their highly successful partnership to hammer Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler 3 and 2 having been 5-up after 11. Ian Poulter and Rory McIlory, who was badly off form in the morning, came from 2-down to triumph 4 and 2 over Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson as Poulter was yet again inspired to new heights by the emotion of team competition.

Rookie Tommy Fleetwood took a far more chilled approach and saw it pay off handsomely as he and Francesco Molinari, who had won Europe's solitary fourballs point, completed the memorable day by smashing Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas 5 and 4.

"It was a tough morning for me but a great afternoon - a bit of a roller coaster ride," said Bjorn.

"Those are the emotions you go through in a Ryder Cup.

"We'll enjoy this afternoon for a few hours, but then we will focus on tomorrow - we know it's a marathon."

Furyk looked shell-shocked out on the course as he surveyed the giant scoreboards swathed in blue but tried to take the long view when considering the day.

"It's eight points so the event is still pretty young," he said.

"If we had lost both sessions two-and-a-half to one-and-a-half it would have been the same result but probably a different feeling.

"The Europeans played very good golf this afternoon on a difficult set-up and in difficult conditions and we didn't play our best golf.

"When you see all that blue on the board maybe the guys tried a bit too hard, pressed a bit too hard.

"We're not happy with 4-0 but we play for 28 points and there is plenty of time."

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