Bradley and Mickelson win first three holes and hold on to beat McIlroy and McDowell

Last Updated: 29/09/12 3:21pm

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Keegan Bradley (left) and Phil Mickelson: brilliant display

Keegan Bradley (left) and Phil Mickelson: brilliant display

Sky Bet

Keegan Bradley capped a dream first day in Ryder Cup competition as he partnered Phil Mickelson to a 2&1 win over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in the afternoon fourballs.

The American pair maintained their impressive foursomes form, racing three up after three and holding off a back-nine fightback before Mickelson sealed victory with a stunning tee shot to two feet at the 17th.

Bradley rapped in confident birdie putts at the first and third either side of Mickelson's two at the second to leave the Northern Irish pair with a mountain to climb.

McIlroy's par at six pulled one back, but Mickelson restored the three-hole lead with a birdie at the long seventh and Bradley nailed another winning putt for a two at the next.

McDowell responded with a precise approach to two feet at the ninth, and the next four holes were halved before McIlroy's well-crafted four at the long 14th reduced the arrears to two.

But Bradley matched McIlroy's birdie at the driveable 15th, and the PGA champion shaved the hole with a long-range birdie putt at the next.

McIlroy offered his team a glimmer of hope with a high draw to eight feet at 17, but Mickelson's sublime tee shot had to be conceded to give the home pair their second point of the day.

"That baby was all over the flagstick, but until you see it land you just never know," said a jubilant Mickelson.

Bradley added: "That shot showed why Phil Mickelson is a Hall of Famer - and I've got so much energy I wish I could go 36 (holes) more."

McIlroy said: "They got off to a very fast start, and at the end of the day we just gave ourselves a little bit too much to do. We started a little sluggishly.

"Obviously it was just a high to end this morning and then to try to get ourselves back for the afternoon, we just didn't start as well as we would have liked.

"We were trying to claw our way back, and we played some good stuff on the way in, but Keegan and Phil were just too strong this afternoon."

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