CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed set the tone for a 4-0 Friday morning sweep of the foursomes but Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson returned the favour in fourballs to spearhead Europe’s fightback at the Ryder Cup.
Spieth and Reed were unbeaten in their three matches together in the last Ryder Cup, registering two wins and a half.
The two power teams were first on the tee in the foursomes, won 3 and 2 by the American duo, and returned to launch the fourballs session in a quick rematch.
Rose and Stenson, winners of all three of their matches two years ago in Europe’s victory at Gleneagles, walloped the Americans 5 and 4 as the Cup holders won the session 3-1 to reduce the overall deficit to 5-3 after the opening day at Hazeltine.
“We played nicely this morning. We just didn’t make any putts,” Stenson told reporters.
“Makes it sweeter though, when you beat the guys you lost to in the morning, that’s for sure.”
Rose and Stenson posted a combined nine birdies, with the Swede running off three in succession from the sixth hole to move from all-square to a two-up lead.
“I was scratching around for birdies and Henrik was doing it in his flashy fashion,” England’s Rose said about Stenson firing approach shots tight to the hole.
“When he gets going with irons he’s a joy to watch and no one’s better than him.”
Stenson said: “I hit a nice putt on six, good wedge on seven and a beautiful shot on eight, almost holed it. Going to watch the replay on that one tonight.”
Joining Rose and Stenson with fourballs wins for Europe were Sergio Garcia and fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy with Belgian rookie Thomas Pieters.
“The response to this morning has been fantastic by the boys,” said Rose.
“We’re a team that stands shoulder-to-shoulder. There’s a lot of pride in the badge and it’s great to see them respond like that.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez