Garcia and Noren hand Phil Mickelson and USA an almighty walloping
Holy Lord, this got ugly.
3-1 down and heading into the afternoon foursomes, European captain Thomas Bjorn opted to team up out-of-form Sergio Garcia with a 36-year-old Ryder Cup rookie from Stockholm.
Europe needed good news fast and both Garcia and Alex Noren, his new partner, delivered.
The Spaniard and Swede birdied six of the first nine holes to reach the turn at 31. Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, their opponents, were 7 Down after 9 and struggling to stay afloat.
Noren was an absolute ice-man with the putter in hand and was dropping them from eight, 10 and 12 feet.
2 putts for the win...
Alex Noren only needs one. pic.twitter.com/KW4ueddPFT
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 28, 2018
Noren is 13 years a professional golfer but came into this competition as somewhat of an unknown quantity. He has 10 career wins on the European Tour and two Top 10 finishes in The Open but has never got too close to Major glory, or final round drama, on American soil.
By the end of Day One, American golf fans knew all about Noren, and were cursing the lad.
The biggest ever foursomes beating in Ryder Cup history is 6&5 but Mickelson and DeChambeau were in danger of a 7&6 defeat, or worse, as they set off on the back nine.
The Americans responded with birdies on holes 10 and 11 and were suddenly showing signs of life. The comeback looked like a brief flurry when DeChambeau chumped his chip from the fringe and America bogeyed the hole.
Garcia then gave one back at the next by finding the water off the tee. The next hole was halved and, at 5 DOWN, the U.S team needed a miracle.
It never arrived as the 14th was halved with pars. Garcia and Noren won 5&4. Europe lead 5-3 after Day One.
Mickelson's Ryder Cup record now drops to 18-21-7 (wins, losses, halves).
It will be interesting if we see much of 'Lefty' on Day Two.