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Ryder Cup: Europe in impressive foursomes show against United States

Europe roared back to lead 5-3 after the first day of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, following a dominant display in the foursomes.

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The holders were beaten by a point in Friday's fourballs, but hit back later in the day to limit the visitors to just half a point in the afternoon.

A late fightback from Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia to secure a half against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker will arguably have pleased Paul McGinley as much as Europe's three foursomes victories, with the big-name pairing having displayed inconsistent form throughout much of the day.

The European pair, who had tasted defeat in the fourballs, found birdies at the final three holes, winning the last two in some style to deny Fowler and Walker victory.

Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood made their bows at this year's event with a 2up win over Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar to get the first foursomes point on the board, before Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson again came up with the goods.

Having been drawn to face Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson, Rose and Stenson added another victory to their earlier fourballs win, the Englishman holing a three-footer for a 2 and 1 success that gave Europe the lead.

Victor Dubuisson, a rookie like Donaldson, and Graeme McDowell wrapped up the day's play with another victory for Europe, triumphing 3 and 2 against the previously unbeaten pairing of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.

The USA's failure to claim a point in the foursomes came after captain Tom Watson had opted to surprisingly leave out Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, 5 and 4 winners over Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter in the fourballs.

Donaldson and Westwood fought back from losing the third hole of their match with a bogey by winning the sixth, seventh and 11th.

A birdie from Kuchar and Furyk at 16 set up a tense finale, but the European pairing held their nerve to prevail down the last.

The burgeoning partnership between Rose and Stenson continued to bear fruit as they made it two wins from two.

Mahan and Johnson twice came from behind to leave the match all-square with four to play, but the American duo were made to pay for costly bogeys at 15 and 17.

World number one McIlroy and Garcia then came to the fore, belatedly showing their quality when it really mattered.

A stunning 40-foot putt from McIlroy at 17 ensured Walker and Fowler were taken down the last and Europe duly claimed another valuable birdie after Garcia had found the par-five 18th green with a wonderful approach from the rough.

Mickelson and Bradley had won four games from four together prior to their meeting with McDowell and Dubuisson, but found themselves three down after five holes.

The Americans fought back to within one, only to be beaten when McDowell sank a lengthy putt for birdie at 16 to round off a hugely impressive second session for McGinley's men.

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