Europe Takes Two Point Lead on Day 1 - COPIED

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36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- Helped by Darren Clarke's emotional victory, Sergio Garcia's clutch play and a late mistake by Jim Furyk, Europe took a slim lead after a closely fought opening day at the Ryder Cup.
 
Europe led 5-3 after Friday's first day of play, in which Garcia won twice, and seven of the eight matches came down to the 18th hole. It marked the fifth straight time Europe has led after the opening day.
 
'It's a good situation to come out with the lead,' said David Howell, who teamed with Henrik Stenson to earn half a point in the afternoon. 'If we win every day, we win this thing.'
 
Although Garcia was clutch in his two victories, Clarke gave Europe its signature win in the morning better-ball round, a tear-filled stroll around The K Club played in honor of his wife, Heather, who died of cancer last month.
 
Led by his birdie on the opening hole, sunk a few minutes after he shared hugs with his opponents and soaked in a standing ovation from the crowd on the tee box, Clarke and Lee Westwood defeated Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco 1 up.
 
Furyk, meanwhile, spent 35 holes as the steady part of his duo with Tiger Woods. He spearheaded their 1-up victory over Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington in the morning and kept them within striking range in the alternate-shot match in the afternoon.
 
But the one-time U.S. Open champ knocked his long second shot on the par-5 18th into the water to allow Garcia and Luke Donald to seal a 2-up victory -- a win scratched out even after Garcia skulled his shot from the greenside rough awkwardly across the putting surface.
 
It was one of the Spaniard's few mistakes. Earlier, he teamed with countryman Jose Maria Olazabal for a 3 and 2 win over Toms and Brett Wetterich in better-ball.
 
'I did everything I shouldn't have done,' Furyk said. 'No excuses there. I made a bad swing.
 
The afternoon rounds were riveting, filled with back-and-forth matches, lots of very nice shots and a few more ugly ones. Three of the four ended up tied.
 
Montgomerie made a clutch 6-footer on No. 18 to win the hole and earn a half point in the afternoon, teaming with Westwood against Mickelson and DiMarco.
 
Americans Chad Campbell and Zach Johnson overcame a 2-down deficit with three holes left to halve their match with the Irish twosome of Harrington and Paul McGinley. Johnson, who missed a 3-footer on 13, made up for it by hammering a 3-wood into easy two-putt range for a birdie on the par-5 16th to pull within one. The Ryder Cup rookie then made a testy 3-footer on 18 to earn the half point and take advantage of Harrington's poor third shot.
 
In the morning, Woods, helped by Furyk, earned the first-day point that had eluded him since 1999. But neither Woods nor Furyk could get it going in the afternoon. When Garcia hit his approach to 2 feet on the 17th for a 1-up lead, the match started slipping away.
 
'I did everything I shouldn't have done,' Furyk said. 'No excuses there. I made a bad swing.
 
Clarke watched Montgomerie pull out his half point in the day's last match with a cigar in hand and sharing a bear hug from Garcia.
 
It was a much different scene than in the morning on No. 18, where Clarke cried after hitting a putt close enough to clinch his win.
 
'I'm obviously very, very pleased that I got a point, that Lee and I got a point for the team,' Clarke said. 'As I said earlier, it was always going to be a big morning for me.'
 
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