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Rose and Stenson delighted to lead stirring fightback

By Phil Casey

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson led by example as Europe recovered from the shock of being whitewashed in the opening session of the 41st Ryder Cup.

Olympic gold medallist Rose and Open champion Stenson had surrendered their unbeaten record to Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the morning foursomes, but were sent out against the same opposition in the first of the afternoon fourballs and hit back in style, winning 5&4.

Rose said: "I had a little moment on the second fairway when I thought they would be tough to beat and they certainly were.

"We did what we do best, we stuck with it, trusted ourselves, our game and we dovetailed nicely.

"I relied on my partner again and he delivered, which is great.

His partner Stenson added: "We played nicely this morning but didn't make any putts.

"It was nice to play the same pairing again. They got off to a hot start but I managed to sneak one in on the second to tie and Justin made a good birdie on three.

"They don't give much for free but we played nicely and made some putts this afternoon that we didn't make this morning and they tired a little while we didn't."

Former Ryder Cup vice-captain Des Smyth was impressed by Stenson's performance, saying: "They played fantastic, both of them. They complemented each other all day. It was a good match and then they started to birdie every hole.

"It was fantastic play by both teams, but Stenson in particular was my man of the match."

Darren Clarke's star pairing gave the European captain what he needed by combining for six birdies in the first eight holes, having managed just one in their 3&2 morning defeat.

Stenson was responsible for three of those in succession from the sixth and was inches away from a hole-in-one on the eighth.

Perhaps fittingly, the last time the United States won an opening session 4-0 was when the late Arnold Palmer was captain in 1975, albeit against Great Britain and Ireland.

Palmer's bag from that contest had been displayed on the first tee in tribute to the seven-time Major winner after his death on Sunday.

Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka steadied the ship with a convincing 5&4 victory over Martin Kaymer & Danny Willett.

Snedeker said: "Everybody has got their job to do. Our job was to worry about us.

"We did a great job of staying in the present. Brooks did a great job of making me look good.

"If I could hit some more greens it would be a lot of fun for the rest of the week. The greens are perfect, there's no one to blame but yourself if you're missing putts."

US rookie Koepka added: "I love it. This atmosphere is unbelievable and the fans are awesome. We've had a great time."

After the poor start for Europe, Ulsterman Clarke said: "The American guys played better than we did and looking at it, 4-0 is probably a fair result.

"Obviously it is not an ideal start but we've come back from positions like this in the not so distant past."

Clarke was smiling again after watching his side fight back, with Rose and Stenson leading the charge.

Belfast Telegraph


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