PARIS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Sergio Garcia repaid his Ryder Cup captain’s faith with a crushing 5&4 foursomes victory alongside Sweden’s Alex Noren against Phil Mickelson and Bryson Dechambeau on Friday.
The 38-year-old Spaniard, handed a wildcard by Thomas Bjorn despite missing the cut in all four majors this year, displayed his love of team golf as he helped spark a European revival having sat out the earlier fourballs.
Garcia, given a rapturous reception on the first tee, halved the opening hole but he and rookie Noren then won seven of the next eight to leave the Americans reeling.
Leading by seven at the turn they were even threatening to set a new record win in Ryder Cup foursomes since Europe combined to take on the United States in 1979.
Mickelson and Dechambeau avoided that humiliation with a mini-revival after the turn, snatching back a couple of holes courtesy of European bogeys at the 10th and 11th.
The 48-year-old Mickelson was required to chip in at the 12th to prevent Europe moving six up with six to play and his effort never worried the hole.
Garcia blotted his copybook when he found water with his tee shot at the 13th and Mickelson at least extended the contest to another hole with a long birdie putt.
There was no miracle escape though and handshakes were exchanged on the 14th green.
Garcia, dubbed the heartbeat of the European team, then led the crowd in a ‘thunderclap’ celebration as he moved to 23.5 points scored in the Ryder Cup and edged his side in front overall after they lost the fourballs 3-1.
After a poor season he is now within striking distance of Nick Faldo’s European Ryder Cup points record of 25. (Reporting by Martyn Herman Editing by Toby Davis)