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Graeme McDowell's Ryder Cup day

By Peter Hutcheon

When talk was raging earlier in the week of splitting up the Ulster pairing, Graeme McDowell won't have considered for a minute that he would be benched for the opening fourballs by skipper Paul McGinley.

Team man that he is, though, it was a decision he took on the chin and then proceeded to demonstrate just how badly wrong his captain had got it by, in tandem with new team mate Victor Dubuisson, taking down the previously unbeaten partnership of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in the foursomes.

And he did it in style, rolling in a great birdie putt on the 16th green to seal a three and two win for Europe and with it a 5-3 overnight lead.

The Frenchman more than played his part in the victory which, apart from a wobble around the turn and a rather ugly three-putt on the eighth, was pretty much assured for most of the afternoon.

They went one up at the second after McDowell's approach set up his partner for an eagle attempt which, although was missed, the tap-in for birdie was enough.

They benefited from some poor Mickelson putting on the fourth to go two up and made that three on the next after another American bogey.

The three-putt on the eighth was an aberration and all it took to take the Europeans two up again was a solid par three at the 10th.

McDowell rather mischievously suggested afterwards that perhaps Phil was looking a little tired towards the end of the match, perhaps a little dig back at the Californian's suggestion earlier in the week that things were not altogether sunny between McDowell and Rory McIlroy these days.

Still, he had enough in the tank to make a birdie on the 13th to get back to two down and with five to play over this Gleneagles set-up we've seen already that can be far from done and dusted.

Both Mickelson and Dubuisson missed the fairway with their tee-shot at the par five 16th, leaving McDowell little choice but to lay up. The Frenchman then set McDowell up perfectly for the birdie which would seal the deal.

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