Ryder Cup Day One Fourball match reports: European heavyweights McIlroy, Garcia and Poulter beaten
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson have won the first point of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles but the Americans have come roaring back.
Rose missed a good birdie chance on the first but the European pair soon went in front as Stenson holed from 10 feet on the second and Watson missed from half the distance. Rose birdied the fourth to double the lead and the home duo could have been comfortably in front after a string of missed chances before eventually going three ahead on the ninth.
Those missed chances were not proving costly however with the American pair failing to make a birdie in the entire match and Rose holed from 25 feet on the 10th to extend the lead further. It was only a matter of time before the first point went on the board and Rose sealed victory with a birdie on the 14th.
Rose was delighted to be able to get Europe off to the ideal start alongside his good friend Stenson.
"When you come in at one, that's the position the captain puts you in to go and deliver a point and that's what me and the Iceman came to do," he told Sky Sports Ryder Cup.
"We got off to a good start and we knew how key that was; the course was playing hard early. We managed to steal a few birdies when we could."
Stenson paid tribute to his partnership with Rose - it would not be a surprise to see them paired together for the foursomes this afternoon - and was happy to claim a commanding win.
"It was great. I feel like I've got a very good and solid partner in Justin, we know each other well. We had good fun out there and most importantly we delivered our point and pretty early so we can relax a little bit," he said.
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson bt Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 5&4
Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter lost to Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed 5&4
European captain Paul McGinley felt Poulter's big personality made him the ideal partner for Gallacher in his Ryder Cup debut on home soil, but the wild card duo never recovered from a shaky start. Gallacher found a fairway bunker off the first tee and Poulter found sand with his approach before missing from three feet for par to lose the hole.
Poulter holed some testing putts to stay just one behind until birdies on the sixth and seventh from the American pair took them three ahead. Gallacher had a wonderful chance to reduce the deficit but missed from five feet for birdie on the eighth and three birdies in a row from the ninth put the rookie US pairing an amazing six up. A par on the 12th was enough to give the European pair their first win of the day but that merely delayed the inevitable and Poulter leaving a putt to keep the match alive on the 14th short summed up a miserable day.
Patrick Reed and Jordan Speith bt Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher 5&4
Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer halved with Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker
Kaymer labelled Bjorn his mentor after the Dane took him under his wing when vice-captain in both 2010 and 2012, the pair keen to play together ever since Kaymer's US Open victory sealed his place in the side. It looked an inspired move when the pair birdied three of the first four holes to move three up, but Fowler won the fifth and Walker holed a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-five ninth to get just one down.
It was Bjorn's turn to produce a bit of magic on the 13th, chipping in from short of the green for a birdie to restore a two-hole cushion, only for Walker to respond by doing likewise on the 16th to get back to one down. Kaymer missed from 10 feet for birdie on 17th to secure victory and was left to regret it when Walker was the only player able to birdie the par-five 18th to snatch half a point.
Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer halved with Rickie Fowler
Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia lost to Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley 1 hole
US captain Tom Watson predicted the final match could be a "barn-burner" but there were only occasional fireworks after McIlroy and Mickelson exchanged birdies on the first. Garcia holed a brilliant bunker shot on the fourth to put Europe ahead, but bogeys on the seventh allowed the Americans back on level terms.
Birdies on the ninth and 10th put Mickelson and Bradley two up, but they made a mess of the 11th and 13th to squander their lead. Mickelson missed a short par putt to lose the 15th but Bradley hit a superb fairway wood to the next and holed from 10 feet for an eagle before Mickelson's birdie on the 18th sealed a hard-fought victory. As in the second match, neither of the Europeans were able to birdie the closing par five.
Mickelson hailed his team-mate's eagle on the 16th as the turning point of the match as they came from one down to pip McIlroy and Garcia.
"We gave a few holes away and we were to keep the match close, even though we took a two-up lead and went one down, the eagle that Keegan made on 16 was just huge. It gave us a huge momentum boost coming down the stretch."
Bradley added: "It's just a blast, I'm having the time of my life again."
Phil Mickelson and Keegan bt Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia 1UP
Europe 1.5 United States 2.5 after morning fourballs