Ryder Cup 2012: Nicolas Colsaerts lifts Europe after rookie Americans shine

It's the march of the rookie as Colsaerts lifts Europe after Love stars shine

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UPDATED:

00:19 GMT, 29 September 2012

America took the first
day honours at the Ryder
Cup as Jose Maria Olazabal's
men wilted under a fourballs
onslaught.

The hosts celebrated an explosive
new partnership in veteran
Phil Mickelson and rookie Keegan
Bradley as the USA turned a 2-2
lunchtime score into a 5-3 lead.

What a day: Nicolas Colsaerts finished in remarkable fashion

What a day: Nicolas Colsaerts finished in remarkable fashion

They beat Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald in the morning and Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in the afternoon as Mickelson enjoyed his best day in these matches.

Bradley, though, was the star, firing up Mickelson to such an extent he was unrecognisable from the pale shadow seen in past Ryder Cups.

'This is one of the most memorable occasions of my life,' said the feisty 26-year-old Bradley. Asked if he had energy left, he replied: 'Oh baby, I wish I could go 36 more.'

Europe had done well enough in the morning as Ian Poulter and Justin Rose ensured a 2-2 scoreline by clinching a point after McIlroy and McDowell had also registered a victory.

Put it there:Vice-captain Darren Clark greets Nicolas Colsaerts - Europe's best fourball player today

Put it there:Vice-captain Darren Clark greets Nicolas Colsaerts – Europe's best fourball player

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day - in both sessions

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day – in both sessions

But after lunch it was a completely
different story with all the momentum going America's way until an
incredible European performance in the anchor match.

Here it was left to their only rookie, Nicolas Colsaerts, to prevent a
whitewash as he singlehandedly beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Lee
Westwood was his partner but, completely out of sorts, he didn't have a
birdie throughout.

Colsaerts, by way of complete contrast, had an astonishing eight birdies
and eagle to give Woods another Ryder Cup nightmare, as he lost both
his matches. His morning defeat in the foursomes means he has now tied
Raymond Floyd for the most defeats in that format in American Ryder Cup
history.

First blood: Keegan Bradley (right) celebrates with Phil Mickelson after the pair beat Donald and Garcia

First blood: Keegan Bradley (right) celebrates with Phil Mickelson after the pair beat Donald and Garcia

Hug it out: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson celebrate winning another point for their team

Hug it out: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson celebrate winning another point for their team

Asked if he realised how important that point was, Westwood said: 'I
did, but luckily Nicolas didn't. That's why he played so well.'

The Belgian summed up the way he and Westwood had clung on to win by
saying: 'You have just got to go with what's in your pants'.

Questions will inevitably be asked as to why Europe captain Olazabal
left players such as Poulter and Donald on the sidelines after lunch,
but at least his wildcard decision to pick Colsaerts was thrillingly
vindicated.

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day - in both sessions

Woods for the trees: Tiger has endured a torrid day – in both sessions

Woods talks to his caddie Joe LaCava

Pointing the way: Woods talks to his caddie Joe LaCava

'Ollie told me on Thursday afternoon I wouldn't be playing in the
fourballs and that was fine with me,' said Poulter. 'We have a strong
team and he wanted everyone to have a game, so that meant four players
had to sit it out. He said he wanted to keep me fresh for the last two
days.'

McIlroy said: 'We were trying to claw our way back, and we played some
good stuff on the way in, but Keegan and Phil were just too strong this
afternoon.'

Europe will now have to call on the spirit of 1995, when they came back from a two-point deficit after the first day to win.