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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ryder Cup: Kid's stuff for Fleetwood in dream debut

Ryder Cup: Kid's stuff for Fleetwood in dream debut

September 29, 2018 08:53 IST

Ryder Cup

IMAGE: Team Europe's Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate winning their Fourballs match. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Exactly a year after becoming a father for the first time, Tommy Fleetwood made his Ryder Cup debut look like child's play as he posted two vital points alongside British Open champion Francesco Molinari at Le Golf National on Friday.

Europe, bidding to reclaim the trophy they lost at Hazeltine two years ago, ended the day 5-3 ahead with Fleetwood the toast of the team room, even if he made a quick dash away to help celebrate his son Frankie's first birthday.

 

An hour or so out of the Ryder Cup bubble was the least Fleetwood deserved after playing a key role in turning the opening day Europe's way.

"Tommy is on his way back to the hotel to spend an hour or so with his son, and that will be nice for him," Europe captain Thomas Bjorn said. "That's a pretty special thing for him and for (Fleetwood's wife) Clare."

The laid-back 27-year-old Englishman, one of five rookies in Bjorn's side, gelled superbly with the Italian as they produced a stunning comeback win against Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed in the morning fourballs for a 3&1 victory that spared Europe a 4-0 drubbing in the opening session.

Later they outclassed Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas 5&4 to complete Europe's first ever 4-0 sweep in the foursomes format.

The four Americans they faced down during the opening day's action boasted a collective total of 19 majors. No wonder their partnership is already being dubbed "Mollywood".

Captain Furyk defends selecting Mickelson for foursomes

Ryder Cup

IMAGE: Team USA captain Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson during the Foursomes. Photograph: Charles Platiau /Reuters

United States Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk defended his decision to play Phil Mickelson in the foursomes on the opening day of the Ryder Cup and also dismissed concerns that Tiger Woods might be hindered by back issues.

After taking a 3-1 lead in the morning fourballs, the Americans were swept in the four alternate shot matches at Le Golf National.

All four matches were lopsided, but none more than the 5&4 hammering Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren inflicted on Mickelson and rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

Mickelson, for all his strengths, has never been an accurate driver, which left some observers wondering why he would be used in an unforgiving format on a course with punishing rough.

Furyk was having none of it, even after Mickelson, who came into the event out of form, had flopped.

"He's got a lot of experience, most experienced Ryder Cupper of all-time," Furyk said of five-times major champion Mickelson who is playing in a record 12th Ryder Cup.

"I've heard some of the rumblings ... (but) it's Phil Mickelson, major champion."

"He's a very good iron player so I felt comfortable."

"I put that confidence in him and I'll be honest I'd do it again. I have a lot of confidence in all 12."

As much as he publicly backed Mickelson, speculation was rife that Furyk would bench the player in Saturday's foursomes.

Source:
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