Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson set the tone with a dazzling display of shot-making as the United States won the afternoon fourball matches on Friday at the Ryder Cup.
Watson and Simpson pummelled Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Swede Peter Hanson 5 & 4, then Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley beat Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell 2 & 1 to give the home team a quick 4-2 advantage on the scoreboard. Long-hitting Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, who sat out the morning session, disposed of Justin Rose and Germany’s Martin Kaymer 3 & 2. Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts put on a birdie clinic alongside Lee Westwood, single-handedly winning Europe's only match of the afternoon, 1-up against Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.
The United States heads into Saturday's Foursome and Fourball matches with a 5-3 lead.
Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson scored a crushing 5 and 4 win over Europeans Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson in the first of Friday afternoon’s Ryder Cup fourballs.
Poor putts from the European pair allowed the Americans to win the first two holes and when Simpson sunk an 18-footer for birdie at the fourth they were already on the way at three up.
The situation became even more dire for Lawrie and Hanson as birdies from Watson won the sixth, seventh and eighth to put the Americans a stunning six up.
At that stage they had birdied seven of the first eight holes, the exception being the second, and they won that with a par.
It was nearly seven up by the turn, but Simpson’s birdie putt slipped by.
It was a lost cause for Lawrie and Hanson down the back nine, although they managed to stay out on the course a while longer with a birdie from the 43-year-old Scot at the 11th.
The coup de grace came at the 14th hole when Watson was the executioner as the Americans finished at 10 under par.
Watson, whose caddie urged the crowd to make noise as he hit his tee-shot at the first, was winning his second Ryder Cup cap, while US Open champion Simpson was one of four rookies in the US team.
Scotland’s Lawrie was back in the Europe team for a second cap, 13 years after winning his first, and was playing for the first time with Swede Hanson, a second time Ryder Cupper.
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley stormed out to an early lead then held on to defeat Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell 2 and 1 in afternoon fourball Friday at the 39th Ryder Cup.
The American duo didn’t skip a beat between the morning and afternoon sessions, beating McIlroy and McDowell after coming off a rousing 4 and 3 victory in the foursomes over Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.
McIlroy and McDowell also won their morning foursome by beating Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker 1-up.
Mickelson won it for the Americans by hitting his elevated tee shot on the par-three 17th to two feet from the pin for the concession birdie on a sun-splashed Medinah Country Club course.
Mickelson and Bradley birdied four of their opening five holes before McIlroy and McDowell climbed back into the match by winning the ninth and 14th holes.
Mickelson, who was playing in his 36th Ryder Cup match, and rising star Bradley started quickly with three consecutive birdies to go 3-up.
Bradley sunk a 10 footer for a birdie on the par-four No. 1 and then Mickelson rolled in an eight-foot putt on No. 2.
Bradley gave them a sizeable early lead with another birdie on the par-four three.
World No. 1 McIlroy got a break on the fifth when he ran his second shot through the bunker and onto the green but the Europeans couldn’t capitalize and ended up halving the hole.
Europe got one back on the sixth when McIlroy parred the hole after Bradley missed the fairway off the tee and Mickelson missed an 18 foot par putt.
McIlroy made his debut in the event with McDowell at his side two years ago in Wales when they won one, lost one and halved one together.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar defeated Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer 3 and 2 in the third of the afternoon fourballs at the Ryder Cup on Friday.
Rose, who grabbed a point with close friend Ian Poulter in the morning foursomes, continued his good form by birdieing the first to put Europe one up in the contest.
But a huge putt from the edge of the par-three second from Johnson restored parity before birdies from Kuchar at four, five and seven gave the Americans command at 3 up, where it remained at the turn.
Rose and Kaymer had their chances to cut back the deficit, but failed to take them before Rose finally got one to fall at the 12th to get back to 2 down.
But Johnson bested Rose in putting for birdies from mid-distance at the 15th and Kuchar finished it off at the next.
Both the Americans were winning their second caps, having sat out the morning foursomes. Germany’s Kaymer got into the Europe team as the 10th and final automatic quaifier.
Belgian bomber Nicolas Colsaerts was a one-man wrecking crew Friday, spearheading Europe to a 1-up win over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in Ryder Cup afternoon fourballs.
Colsaerts finished with eight birdies and an eagle as the European Tour’s driving distance champ flashed his all-around game Friday at the Medinah Country Club.
Woods led a late charge by the Americans, posting three birdies on the final five holes after struggling mightily off the tee in the morning foursomes.
But the 14-time major winner played second fiddle on Friday to Colsaerts who made most birdies in an opening round for a Europe Ryder Cup rookie.
Colsaerts and Lee Westwood took their first lead of the match on the ninth hole when Colsaerts hammered home a 22 footer for his fifth birdie on the front nine.
Colsaerts is the longest hitter on the European Tour with a 317 yard average and he is the first player from Belgium to play in this event.
The 29-year-old Colsaerts posted his first top 10 in a major championship this summer by finishing tied for seventh at the British Open.
He made a birdie putt on the par-four fourth to win the hole for Europe after Woods rolled his birdie attempt six feet past the hole.
Woods and Stricker are coming off a loss in the Friday morning foursomes, while Westwood teammed up with Francesco Molinari to win his foursome.
Woods, who was all over the place off the tee in the the morning foursomes, gave the US the lead with a birdie on the par-four No. 1.
Files from AFP and Reuters were used in this report