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Donald notches first European point

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MEDINAH, Ill. – The first point has been put on the board Sunday at the Ryder Cup, though not without a fight.

Chalk one up for the Europeans.

Now, they need to see a lot more blue.

In the first match of the day, Luke Donald seized an early lead and thwarted a late Bubba Watson rally to hang on for a 2-and-1 victory at Medinah.

That cut the U.S. advantage to 10-7; the Americans need 14 12 points to win back the Ryder Cup.

“It was a big honor for me that (captain Jose Maria Olazabal) had enough trust for me to get that first point for Europe,” Donald said. “I did what I had to do.”

When Donald finished, Europe either led or was all square in the next four matches, each of which was on the back nine.

Donald, an Englishman playing in his adopted hometown of Chicago, was 2 up at the turn, then won Nos. 11 and 12 to build a 4-up advantage. He missed a few opportunities to close out Watson, who took advantage with a birdie on the 15th and a chip-in birdie on 16. It still wasn’t enough, as Donald splashed out of a greenside bunker on 17 to clinch the match. He finished the week with a 2-2 record.

“I felt a lot of relief that that match is over,” Donald said. “Bubba was pushing me hard at the end.”

Meanwhile, after teaming with Webb Simpson to post a 2-1 record in team play, Watson has now gone 0-3 in his singles career (lost in 2010 Ryder Cup, 2011 Presidents Cup).