Stricker shocks Westy in first match
Steve Striker has taken some of the glitter off the Europe’s Ryder Cup charge for glory at Celtic Manor
Steve Stricker struck a blow for the US when he beat European talisman Lee Westwood as the 38th Ryder Cup began building towards a thrilling climax at Celtic Manor.
Stricker, in company with Tiger Woods, was on the receiving end of a 6&5 foursomes drubbing by Westwood and Luke Donald yesterday.
But he exacted revenge with a 2&1 victory today, cutting Europe’s overnight lead to 9½ – 8½ after Dustin Johnson had crushed Martin Kaymer 6&4 seconds earlier.
Westwood, who had risen to world number two before play started, was undone by Stricker’s tenacity and accurate putting when it mattered.
And US PGA champion Kaymer was no match for a fired-up Johnson, never making an impression on the contest.
The overall picture behind them though, still looked good for Europe in pursuit of the five points they needed to regain a trophy they lost in Louisville, Kentucky two years ago.
Ian Poulter beat Matt Kuchar 5&4, chipping in for an eagle on 12 en route, while Donald was two up on £7million FedEx Cup winner Jim Furyk after 14 and US Open champion Graeme McDowell was three up on a hapless Hunter Mahan through seven.
Ross Fisher and Miguel Angel Jimenez, meanwhile, held leads in their matches, with Francesco Molinari level with Woods after nine, and his brother Edoardo leading Rickie Fowler by one.
Despite Monday play in a Ryder Cup for the first time – a legacy of 13 hours being lost to rain on Friday and Sunday – huge crowds thronged the course in glorious autumnal sunshine.
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