Colsaerts denies USA a clean sweep
Nicolas Colsaerts enjoyed an incredible Ryder Cup debut (AP)
After just one game Nicolas Colsaerts can already be called a Ryder Cup star - the man who saved holders Europe from being whitewashed in a session for the first time since 1981.
Belgium's first player to appear in the match had an incredible eight birdies and an eagle in the final fourball game of the day in Chicago. Partner Lee Westwood, winning his eighth cap, did not contribute a single birdie or eagle to the cause, but together they were able to celebrate a win that kept America's lead down to 5-3 going into the weekend.
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were the pair beaten and so, on the Medinah course where he has played two major championships and won them both, Woods lost his first two games just like he did in 1999, 2002 and 2004.
Woods was all over the show in the morning as Justin Rose and Ian Poulter won 2&1. It was so bad Davis Love had reason to drop him instantly, but that would be a first and the American captain decided to give him another chance with Stricker.
Woods then played far better and was close to producing a three-birdie finish that would have snatched a half, but he was no match for the inspired Colsaerts, making a bid to become the most famous Belgian in history.
"It was a lot of fun," Colsaerts said. "I've never had so much fun and I want to have more. There are no tools you can use out there. You've just got go with what you have in your pants."
The most dramatic moment came on the short 17th when, with Woods three feet away, he rolled in a 22-footer for a matching two. Love said: "Tiger played great this afternoon, but Colsaerts played unbelievable golf. Tiger would have been anybody else."
What the 29-year-old wild card did was badly needed on a day when Phil Mickelson celebrated becoming America's most capped Ryder Cup player with two wins. Mickelson, in his ninth successive match, teamed up with pumped-up debutant Keegan Bradley to beat previously unbeaten foursomes duo Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia 4&3, then world number one Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell 2&1.The left-hander clinched that with a glorious iron on the short 17th.
It had been Love's two current major champions who had given their side the momentum after the morning foursomes had been tied 2-2. Masters winner Bubba Watson, whipping up the crowd even before he hit a shot, and US Open winner Webb Simpson went to the turn in 29 and were a brilliant 10 under par in winning 5&4 over Scot Paul Lawrie and Swede Peter Hanson, taking the United States 4-2 up before Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar made it 5-2 with a 3&2 victory over Rose and Martin Kaymer.
But when Woods narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 18th, meaning the hole was halved, Colsaerts celebrated a well-deserved point with Westwood as they denied the hosts a clean sweep, reducing the deficit to two points at the end of the first day.
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