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US lead Europe 4-0 in Ryder Cup after opening foursomes

The USA whitewashed Europe in the opening foursomes to take a 4-0 lead on the first morning of the Ryder Cup.

Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed set the tone by beating Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson 32 in the top match.

Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer lost 42 to Zach Johnson, while Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters were thrashed 54 by Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler beat Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan one up to seal the first whitewash since 1981.

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Europe left with mountain to climb

Europe have not been ahead after a first session since 2006, in which time they have won three of the four Ryder Cups.

But the scale of the US domination on the opening morning means Darren Clarke’s team have to pull off a dramatic turnaround to defend the trophy they won two years ago at Gleneagles.

Indeed, Davis Love’s home team made 19 birdies to Europe’s eight in front of a baying, partisan crowd.

Spieth and Reed will renew their battle with Rose and Stenson in the first of the afternoon fourballs, while Garcia will partner fellow Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello against JB Holmes and Ryan Moore.

Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka will play Kaymer and Danny Willett, with Dustin Johnson and Kuchar again teaming to meet McIlroy and Pieters.

All 12 of the US team will have played on the opening day, but Europe’s two English rookies, Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood, must wait.

  • Teams, schedule and format

Spieth shines in heavyweight clash

The match of Spieth and Reed against Rose and Stenson – two teams that were unbeaten two years ago – was not only top of the card, but the most eagerly anticipated on a chilly, misty morning in Minnesota.

As players from both sides in all four matches struggled in a session of varying quality, Spieth holed two birdie putts in the first three holes to give his pair a lead they would not relinquish.

Though he would later admonish himself for his work off tee, Europe’s putting – particularly that of Rose – meant chances to get back in the match went begging, with the US sealing their first point on the 16th.

Soon after, Johnson and Kuchar completed a one-sided win over an out-of-sorts Westwood and nervous-looking rookie Pieters.

The Belgian pulled his approach to the first, Westwood missed from three feet on the second and found water on the seventh to leave Europe three down.

At one point, the American pair were five up despite making only two birdies, and Europe never recovered.

Europe collapse hands US whitewash

While Europe were never ahead in the first and fourth matches, they led with seven holes to play in the second and third.

Four-time major winner McIlroy, partnering English rookie Sullivan, was involved in a back-and-forth contest with Mickelson and Fowler, recovering from a shaky front nine to hole the putts that had Europe two up with four to play.

But after a European bogey on 15, McIlroy lipped out with a par putt on 16 and Sullivan found water off the tee on 17, with Europe unable to salvage a half on the 18th.

Meanwhile, a tight contest pitting Zach Johnson and Walker against Garcia and Kaymer swung in favour of the hosts courtesy of an astonishing run of five successive hole wins.

Garcia had played his part in Europe holding a one-hole lead until the 12th, but the Spaniard gradually left Kaymer with more and more to do.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/37524235