Tiger Wins US Still Trails

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SUTTON COLDFIELD, England ' Tiger Woods finally won a match, while his team maintained its one-point deficit in the 34th Ryder Cup Matches.
 
Woods teamed with Davis Love III in Saturday mornings foursome matches to top Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn, 4-and-3.
 
The victory was a bit of revenge for Woods, who lost to the same twosome when paired with Paul Azinger in Friday mornings four-ball match.
 
'Being 0-2 yesterday wasn't exactly a great feeling,' Woods said. 'It was tough sleeping last night. The fact that I had Davis coming out this morning, I was pumped up and excited about it. We went out and played well.'
 
Despite the victory, the U.S. wasnt able to gain any ground on the Europeans, as they split the morning matches, 2-2. The home team leads 6 - 5 heading into Saturday afternoons four four-ball matches ' a format that traditionally, and recently, has been owned by the Europeans.
 
Europe won three of the four Friday four-ball matches. The U.S. hasnt won a better-ball session since 1995.
 
The morning matches were a deviation from its predecessor ' classical music turned to techno, well-constructed sounds transformed into break beats.
 
One reason for the difference was the softer conditions ' players had a difficult time getting the ball to the hole on the dewy greens. But the primary logic lay in the format.
 
Friday morning, players competed in four-balls, hitting each shot on every hole. Saturday, it was the red-light-green-light format of alternate shot.
 
I dont think you can ever really get used to it, U.S. captain Curtis Strange said of alternate shot, especially in this cool, damp weather.
 
In the first group out at 8:00 AM local time, Phil Mickelson and David Toms teamed for the third time in as many opportunities. They collected a win and a huge half Friday, and earned win No. 2 at the expense of rookies Pierre Fulke and Phillip Price.
 
After being sidelined on Day 1, Fulke and Price led through 12 holes Saturday morning. But back-to-back bogeys at 13 and 14 gave the Americans a 1-up lead.
 
Mickelson hit a 3-wood from 249 yard that came to rest two feet from the hole at the par-5 15th. The eagle was conceded and they went on to win 2-and-1. The victory tied the overall score at 4 - 4 .
 
I felt we were only one point down, and the first match could square the Ryder Cup so far. And it was up to us to do that,' Mickelson said.
The Woods-and-Love victory gave the Americans their first lead of the Matches, 5 - 4 . Strange said he had a hunch the two would fare well together, and he was correct. After losing the first hole, they won three of the next five to take a 2-up lead. That advantage grew to 3-up with a par the 11th. They went on to win convincingly, 4-and-3.
 
Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood gave the Europeans their first point of the day, and evened the overall score with a 2-and-1 victory over Stewart Cink and Jim Furyk.
 
Playing together for the third straight match, the two sprayed balls all over the Brabazon course at The Belfry, but still led 1-up when Westwood missed a two-footer at 15 that would have put them 2-up with three to play.
 
The Americans didnt accept their gift, however, as they bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall 2-down with two to play. A par-5 at the 17th then gave the Europeans the win.
 
'Maybe we struggled a bit today but that goes with the pressure of trying to win as many points as you can,' said Garcia. 'It wasn't the greatest match in Ryder Cup history but we managed to win it.'
 
Garcia is now 6-0-1 when playing as part of a team. He carried Jesper Parnevik to three victories and a half in 1999, and has earned three more points this year with Westwood.
 
Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer won the swing match. They defeated Scott Verplank and Scott Hoch, 1-up
 
The Americans birdied the 15th to pull all square, but missed an opportunity at 16. Verplank failed to convert a 10-foot birdie putt that would have given his team a 1-up advantage.
 
Langer stuck his approach shot on 17 to 12 feet, from where Montgomerie made birdie to give his team a 1-up lead.
 
Montgomerie hit the fairway at the par-4 18th, and Langer reached the green. The Scot almost barrled in the birdie putt, but made a solid par.
 
Hoch had to chip in to win the hole and halve the match, but just missed.
 
'It was one of those mornings when any of the matches could have gone either way and 2-2 was probably about right,' Torrance said. 'Our aim is to stay out in front and we've done that.'
 
Langer tied Nick Faldo for most foursome matches won in Ryder Cup history, with 18. He owns the record in relation to points won, with 11 . The 10-time Ryder Cupper also surpassed Seve Ballesteros for second on the Europeans all-time overall points list. With 23 career points, Langer trails only Faldo (25). Billy Casper owns the American record, with 23 .
 
In addition to the four afternoon four-balls, they will play 12 singles matches on Sunday. A team must win 14 points to win the Matches. Being the defending champions, the U.S. can retain the Cup by earning a 14-14 tie.
 
Full coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches