MEDINAH – After a heavenly Ryder Cup debut, Nicolas Colsaerts came back to earth on Saturday as the magic in his putter disappeared along with his tee shot at 17 that effectively ended his foursomes match.
Colsaerts, who made eight birdies and an eagle to outduel Tiger Woods on Friday, could not find the hole Saturday and then drowned his tee shot at the watery par-three 17th as he and Sergio Garcia fell 2&1 to Americans Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.
The 29-year-old Colsaerts, the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup, missed three makeable putts in the closing holes but stepped to the penultimate tee with his team trailing by just one hole after Garcia chipped in for birdie at the 16th.
“It’s pretty painful,” Colsaerts said after Garcia had comforted him with his arm wrapped around his shoulder following the failed tee shot.
The loss sank Europe into an 8-4 hole going into the afternoon fourball matches, with the Americans needing just 6 1/2 points from 16 more available in the competition that ends with a dozen singles matches on Sunday.
“When you are in a game that you have the chance to go all the way to 18 or get something out of it, it’s a big difference,” Colsaerts said.
Colsaerts made every putt in sight on Friday as he carried along struggling partner Lee Westwood in a 1 up victory over Woods and Steve Stricker for Europe’s lone point in the afternoon fourball session.
Saturday brought a rude awakening for the Ryder Cup rookie.
Back-to-back bogeys from the 12th hole put the European duo two down, but the charismatic Garcia chipped in at 16 and celebrated with a roar and a fist pump as he tried to fire up Colsaerts for a final push.
“Of course, we get one-down with two to go, all of a sudden we have got a decent chance to go to 18 and making something happen,” said a gloomy Colsaerts.
“It’s just one of those moments where you need a few Ryder Cups under your belt.”