Tour Report: Match 16 recap: Europe wins, 1 up

PGA Tour
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Lyons/Getty Images Ian Poulter closed with five straight birdies to give Europe a crucial point.

Europe (Ian Poulter & Rory McIlroy) def. U.S. (Zach Johnson &  Jason Dufner) 1 up
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MORE MATCH RECAPS: Foursomes — Poulter-Rose def. Watson-Simpson, 1 upMickelson-Bradley def. Westwood-Donald, 7-and-6Johnson-Dufner def. Colsaerts-Garcia, 2-and-1 | Furyk-Snedeker def. McIlroy-McDowell, 1 up | Four-ballKuchar-Johnson def. Colsaerts-Lawrie, 1 up | Watson-Simpson def. Rose-Molinari, 5-and-4 | Donald-Garcia def. Woods-Stricker, 1 up | Poulter-McIlroy def. Johnson-Dufner, 1 up

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

MEDINAH, Ill. – The European Team of Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy defeated the U.S. Team of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson 1 up on Saturday afternoon in Four-balls at the 39th Ryder Cup.

MATCH FLOW: On a day filled with amazing shots and unbridled cheering worthy of celebrating touchdowns in Soldier Field, this match was a fitting end to the day. The understated Americans won the first two holes with a birdie and a par and with brief interruptions kept red on the leaderboard until the 15th hole. Europe was 2 down at the turn but McIlroy birdied the 13th hole and then Poulter went to work, reeling off five straight pressure-packed birdies to turn things completely around. The second came on a stellar bunker shot that settled about a foot from the pin for a conceded birdie that squared the match at the 15th hole. Poulter made a 15-footer to win the next hole, a 12-footer to halve with Johnson at the 17th and a 12-footer at the last to answer Dufner and assure the European point.

TIPPING POINT: Poulter’s stretch of five straight birdies to close the match was nothing short of phenomenal. He may have been playing alongside the No. 1 player in the world but Poulter is the heart and soul of the European Team.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Europeans won four holes, including three of the last six, and shot 8 under. The Americans won three holes and shot 7 under.

NOTES & QUOTES: Poulter has accounted for half of Europe’s six points this nweek, including two on Saturday. His Ryder Cup record improves to 11-3-0.

“I think the Ryder Cup should build a statue for him. That’s Poulter. That’s why we say he’s such a special character for this event. He thrives at this event. He loves to be on the spotlight. He loves to be in those kind of situations. And what he did today was just outstanding, period.” European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal …

“It comes from within. And you know, if we can do anything to get this trophy in this position, and Seve is looking down on us, then you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” — Ian Poulter …

“It’s unbelievable. We needed something to happen, some sort of a spark and I think the birdie on 13 sort of sparked us and gave us a bit of momentum. Then Ian sort of took over from there. It was good to be a part of; he was incredible on the way in. All the credit needs to be put on this man.” — Rory McIlroy …

“We got off to a nice lead. We were a couple up there at the turn and then just made six birdies in a row. Cut into our lead a little bit there and made some nice clutch putts, so all in all, a really nice match. Wish we could have got at least half a point, but when guys play like, that there’s not much you can do.” — Jason Dufner …

“Drama, no doubt about it. There was excitement there. It was quality golf shots being had, quality putts holed, and it stinks to lose. You have to tip your cap when you run into a buzzsaw like that.” — Zach Johnson …