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Fowler bounces back with clutch final putt

NEWPORT, Wales – Rickie Fowler fought through some high drama in helping the Americans claim an important half point in the Ryder Cup’s second-session foursomes match at Celtic Manor.

Under immense pressure at the 18th hole with teammate Jim Furyk looking on, Fowler rolled in a 4-foot putt for birdie to win the hole and halve their match against the formidable European tandem of Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

“It was definitely outside the comfort zone,” said Fowler, 21, a PGA Tour rookie. “I just told myself I’ve done this a bunch before and just hit a good putt.”

A missed putt there and the Americans take only a one-point lead going into the third session instead of two points.

Fowler and Furyk fought back from 2 down with eight holes to play.

“We were down after two holes and never got back to level until the end,” Furyk said. “Big inspiration.”

Fowler started and closed the match with solid strokes under pressure and in between bounced back from a rookie blunder that cost the Americans a hole but ultimately did not cost them the match thanks to his final putt.

Fowler was chosen to hit the first tee shot in the foursomes pairing in his first Ryder Cup, striping it down the middle. At the fourth hole, he made a large mistake. After Furyk pulled his drive left into some mud, Fowler was allowed to take a free drop as relief from casual water. Fowler plucked a ball from his pocket, dropped it and struck it in violation of the rules of golf. Even though Fowler pulled out a Titleist, same brand of ball as Furyk put in play, Fowler was required to retrieve and play the same ball that Furyk hit. The penalty was loss of hole.

Furyk said they only realized the mistake after a fan called out to them and Furyk asked Fowler what ball he played.

Furyk said Fowler was unfazed by a blow that could have shaken the rookie and affected the rest of the match.

“He’s a pretty cool customer,” Fowler said. “As young as he is, I was very impressed with his maturity. I went over to calm him down, and he might have calmed me down.”