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Shane Bacon

Americans are first to strike at Ryder Cup, lead 2.5 to 1.5

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At no point during the Friday-turned-Saturday fourball matches did it seem the Americans would sneak away with the lead. Not when they were leading four matches. Not when their rookie team was rolling in birdie after birdie. Not when Tiger Woods was standing in the 18th fairway with a three-wood, looking to hit the par-5 in two.

But, contrary to what most American Ryder Cup fans were ready to believe, the United States players were able to pull out a slim lead in the first matches at Celtic Manor, winning two matches and splitting the other to go up 2.5 to 1.5.

The second winning American team might not surprise you, as Tiger and Steve Stricker kept what they had going at the '09 Presidents Cup as they were able to top Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher 1-up. It was the other, incredibly dominate group, that was the surprise. Rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton were able to top Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington 3 & 2, becoming the first American rookie duo to win their opening matching since Andy Beam and Lee Elder did it in 1979.

Overton was the heavyweight in the opening matches, making six birdies in 16 holes to help push the Americans to another point.

The halved match was with Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar, unable to birdie the final hole against Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, and the losing match for the Americans might have been the biggest surprise, as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson went down to Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer 3 & 2.

With the first matches complete, it is on to a marathon foursome match situation that will have all 24 Ryder Cup members in action. The teams are already on the course, with the following groups going head-to-head:

Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan versus Edoardo Molinaro and Francesco Molinaro

Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton versus Ian Poulter and Luke Donald

Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler versus Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer

Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson versus Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker versus Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson

Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar versus Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy

We will continue to update the action as the matches go on, but follow along on Twitter if you want constant updates.

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