Wednesday 25 April 2018

Firm friends deliver for Europe

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson won both their matches on the opening day of the Ryder Cup
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson won both their matches on the opening day of the Ryder Cup

Andy Hampson

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were not surprised their partnership clicked after the Anglo-Swedish pair scored two points for Europe on day one of the Ryder Cup.

Rose and Stenson set the standard for the hosts at Gleneagles by beating Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson convincingly 5&4 in the opening fourballs match.

Captain Paul McGinley then sent them out again in the afternoon and they delivered once more by beating Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2&1 in the foursomes.

The pair know each other well as they live across the road from each other in Lake Nona, Florida, and regularly socialise and travel to tournaments together.

Rose said: "It was good. This morning we played a solid match.

"For the first five or six holes we didn't play great but when one of us was out of the hole, the other guy stepped in, so we dovetailed really beautifully and got it going in the middle of the match.

"This afternoon, we really clicked into gear.

"I think Henrik and I were a strong pairing. It was our role to go and put a point on the board and to do a good job for the team and to start things in the right way."

Rose, 34, displayed calm nerves throughout the day but he dismissed suggestions he was taking over the team talisman role from Ian Poulter, who suffered an opening day loss.

He said: "I don't think so. My record is strong, but Poults' passion for it and his flair - he really revels in that.

"I like to go out and just play a good, hard match and play as good as I can and deliver for my team."

Rose's success came despite suffering a painful sting on the hand midway through his first match of the day.

The 34-year-old said: "It was a well deserved sting because I hit a terrible shot into the water hazard on the ninth and I was searching for my golf ball.

"The next thing, I don't know if it's a bee sting or a wasp, but anyway, I had the barb of the insect in me, and it's still pretty swollen in me and stinging a little bit.

"My thumb swelled up a little bit but just took an antihistamine.

"It wasn't too bad. I made a nice putt on 10 and I thought, 'Okay, no worries'."

Stenson also enjoyed playing with Rose and felt their off-course friendship underpinned their success.

The 38-year-old Swede said: "It was a great day at the office. I felt that all along. I was very happy to partner up with Justin.

"We know each other well even though we never played together in events like this. I felt comfortable with Justin by my side.

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