Ryder Cup: Nicolas Colsaerts stars for Europe as Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker end first day without a point
Last Updated: 29/09/12 3:20pm
Lee Westwood congratulates Nicolas Colsaerts
Nicolas Colsaerts made a huge impact on his first day of Ryder Cup competition as he and Lee Westwood edged out Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in a tense Ryder Cup fourballs.
The huge-hitting Belgian, and the only debutant on the European team, showed no signs of nerves as he carded eight birdies and an eagle to almost single-handedly win his side's only point of the second session.
While Westwood struggled with an ice-cold putter, Colsaerts was white hot as he birdied three of the first five holes, and another at the seventh kept the match all square.
Woods had sprayed his ball all over Medinah in the morning foursomes, but he improved vastly after lunch and won the opening hole with an 18-foot birdie putt.
He also matched Colsaerts' four at the long fifth, but the European rookie rolled in another winning putt at nine before drilling a stunning long-iron to five feet at the next to set up an eagle.
Woods halved the deficit at 11, only for Colsaerts to find another birdie putt at the 13th, although he could not emulate Woods' excellent four at the long 14th.
But after Westwood found water at 15 for the second time in the day, Colsaerts calmly rolled in his seventh birdie putt to restore the two-hole lead.
Back came Woods again at the next, and he looked set to level the match at 17 when he knocked his tee shot to four feet.
With Westwood and Stricker virtual spectators, Colsaerts silenced the home galleries with a nerveless 20-footer for a priceless two.
And with Colsaerts safely in for par at the last, Woods saw his 12-foot birdie putt graze the hole as he and Stricker suffered their third straight Ryder Cup defeat together.
"I've dreamt about this," said an elated Colsaerts. "It's difficult to imagine you're going to do so well. But this is match play. Your focus gets very intense. I just did the best I could.
"It felt wonderful to be able to produce and deliver on such a big stage with a lot of eyes on you and this unbelievable atmosphere."
Westwood added: "I didn't really have a lot to do. "He brought me in to read a putt on 15 and I panicked.
"I wondered why he was even asking me because everything he looked at went in. I mean, why ruin it now? It was an amazing, amazing round of golf."
And a clearly impressed Woods said: "Nicolas probably had one of the greatest putting rounds I've ever seen.
"I didn't play very good this morning at all. But I hit it good this afternoon. I drove it great this afternoon and was in position, but we ran into a guy who just made absolutely everything."