herald

Monday 11 December 2017

New kids on the block glad to bring Poulter down

American rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, the youngest ever Ryder Cup pairing, came through in flying colours with a crushing win in yesterday's opening session against Europe.

Adding significance to their lop-sided 5 & 4 victory in the morning fourballs was that it came against European mainstay Ian Poulter and his partner Stephen Gallacher, the Scottish debutant and home crowd favourite.

The youngest partnership was boldly scripted by the oldest ever Ryder Cup captain, Tom Watson.

"When Tom told us we were going out together, we were excited," the 24-year-old Reed told reporters.

"I've played a lot of golf with Jordan, not only professionally but amateur and junior career. I was very comfortable playing with him."

The 21-year-old Spieth enjoyed being the new kids playing in the competition won by Europe seven of the last nine times.

"We got a pairing we liked. No battle scars," he said.

The confident Spieth said they were eager to go up against Poulter, one of Europe's most passionate players who has often wielded his putter like a dagger to American hearts.

"I think everybody on the team wants Poulter and we were able to have him first," he said, describing the Englishman as "The Ryder Cup wizard for the Europeans".

The American duo never trailed and rode a red-hot run of five birdies in six holes around the turn helped by the confident putting of Reed which silenced a patriotic Gleneagles crowd.

"It was very, very quiet out there compared to what I think Patrick and I expected in the first round of a Ryder Cup over here, and that's the goal," Spieth said.

Watson's plans worked out well in the morning as the visitors went out to a 2-1/2 to 1-1/2 lead. But a fierce fightback in afternoon foursomes gave Europe a 5-3 lead.

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