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Late rallies fuel Americans' opening sweep

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CHASKA, Minn. – Two late rallies propelled the Americans to their first opening-session sweep in 41 years.

Despite hitting it all over Hazeltine National on Friday morning, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler delivered the final point for the U.S. side during a 4-0 start at the Ryder Cup.

All square on the par-3 17th, Fowler stuffed his tee shot to 10 feet while Andy Sullivan, playing in his first Ryder Cup, fanned his tee ball into the water. The Americans defeated Sullivan and Rory McIlroy, 1 up, giving Fowler his first victory in a Ryder Cup match (1-3-5).

Feeling the most pressure of any Ryder Cup because of the two-year buildup, Mickelson conceded that he “played a little bit tight, but my man got me to hit some shots in the end. He brought the best out of me.”

Including concessions, they teamed to record six birdies in the opening session. Both Mickelson and Fowler are sitting during afternoon fourballs.

As for the other crucial comeback for the Americans, Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson won five consecutive holes to close out Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, 4 and 2. Included in that stretch was three birdies. 

“We both got in a rhythm,” Walker said.

It’s the first time the Americans have swept the opening session since 1975.