Ryder rookies reap rewards
Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson made an impact for the USA on their Ryder Cup debuts at Celtic Manor.
Rookies Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson produced a 31-year best for the United States on their Ryder Cup debuts at Celtic Manor.
Not since Andy Bean and Lee Elder, at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia in 1979 had an American rookie partnership played in a Ryder Cup opening session and won.
But 27-year-old Overton and his 31-year-old partner proved too good for Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington, winning 3&2 to secure an early advantage for their team following the first set of fourballs.
Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when US captain Corey Pavin paired them together as the fourth partnership out, but Overton and Watson had the last laugh.
“Because we are rookies doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to go out there and choke,” said Overton.
“It was felt that between Bubba and myself we would make a lot of birdies.
“It felt really comfortable putting the two of us together because we figured one of us would get on a run, and it so happened to be me in the middle of the round.”
Overton’s hot streak with his putter underpinned the win, setting them up for their foursomes clash against Donald and Ian Poulter.
“Me and Bubba knew we had to go out there and give it our all,” he added.
“He’s an awesome partner. I get kind of nervous and go silent, he gets a little nervous and he likes to chirp.
“It’s a good little combination, and I am fortunate to have a partner like him.”
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