Americans Take Ryder Cup Lead After First Day: A Fan’s Take

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The Americans more than held their own against the European team in the first day of the 2012 Ryder Cup matches at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. In what could probably be termed a surprise, the American side leads the Europeans five to three after the first day's play. In the morning foursomes the Americans split two and two. However, in the afternoon four-ball matches the Americans came to the front taking three of a possible four points.

The standouts for the American team were the pairing of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson. The young PGA Champion and the Ryder Cup veteran teamed up to win two points for the United States. They defeated Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia 4&3 in the morning and the team of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell 2&1 in the afternoon. While Mickelson and Bradley won the most points, the round of the day was turned in by Europe's Nicolas Colsaerts. The "Belgian Bomber" bombed in putt after putt in the afternoon as his partner Lee Westwood smiled and opponents Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker could only go to the next tee. In all, Colsaerts had eight birdies and an eagle as he led his team to a 1-Up victory. That was an incredible round of golf and secured Europe's only point of the afternoon.

There is usually some second guessing of the moves made by the Ryder Cup Captains. I was surprised that Davis Love III sent Woods and Stricker back out in the afternoon since they did not play well in the morning matches. It was assumed that two morning teams would be replaced in order to maintain harmony among the entire squad. The only question was which two teams. Davis Love III chose to replace the team of Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker (they lost) as well as Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. Dufner and Johnson played some very good golf in defeating Westwood and Francesco Molinari 3&2. I would have sent them out in the afternoon in place of Woods and Stricker. Now given Colsaerts' round, it probably would not have mattered which team went out but I would have given Dufner and Johnson the opportunity.

At the time of this writing the pairings for the morning matches on day two have not been announced. I think that European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal should group the Englishmen together as two teams, keep McIlroy and McDowell together and then put Nicolas Colsaerts with anyone he can find. If I were making the selections for the American side I would probably go with Bradley and Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson (they played great golf in the afternoon), and Dufner and Zach Johnson. For the fourth team it would have to be between Woods and Jim Furyk or Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Dwight is an avid golfer. While still relatively new to the game, he plays as often as the weather and his schedule will allow.

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