U.S. leads as Europe closes in

  • Follow Golf

NEWPORT, Wales --- The Americans stood behind the 18th green with smiles rarely seen on European soil as they watched yet another match go their way Saturday in the Ryder Cup.

They won the opening two sessions. They had a 6-4 lead over Europe. They grabbed lunch and headed back out to the golf course.

And then, it all changed.

Two hours later, Europe was leading all six matches when darkness stopped play at Celtic Manor. The Americans still had the lead. It just didn't feel that way. And with so much European blue on the scoreboard, it didn't even look that way.

"Momentum is key in these matches, and we haven't had any yet," European captain Colin Montgomerie said. "And it's been a superb session from the moment that we set off."

No points are awarded until a match is over, but it was looking good for Europe -- especially with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald handing Tiger Woods one of his worst beatings ever in a Ryder Cup. They were 4-up over Woods and Steve Stricker through nine holes.

"I'd say it wasn't a bad thing that it got dark," U.S. captain Corey Pavin said.

There has never been a day at the Ryder Cup quite like this one. Sixteen players from both sides competed in parts of three matches. The opening fourballs session ended before lunch, followed by six alternate-shot matches, and play finally was stopped with six matches of both formats still going on.

Heavy rain was in the forecast for today, with 12 singles matches still to play after the third session is completed. Any stoppage in play would result in the first Monday finish in Ryder Cup history.

Woods and Stricker won their second consecutive match convincingly, Stewart Cink delivered a clutch putt and 21-year-old Rickie Fowler atoned for a bizarre blunder by making a birdie on the 18th hole for an unlikely half-point. Padraig Harrington won his first match for Europe in six years and Westwood looked like a player on the verge of going to No. 1 in the world.

But the final two hours changed everything.

Europe came roaring back behind Westwood, Donald and a host of others, taking the lead in every match.


Top headlines

Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
Search Augusta jobs