Rose and Stenson rewrite record books

The history books will record the match as a 3 and 2 win for Europe but in reality that does an incredible disservice to Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson's Saturday morning fourballs victory.

 

Yes, there have been greater iconic moments, there have been plenty more high-pressure situations, but in terms of overall quality it is difficult to recollect a match which possessed so much.

 

Each pair matched each other birdie for birdie, much like two heavyweight boxers slugging it out in a world title fight – only this contest was all about precision, finesse and the ability to produce at exactly the right moment.

 

They recorded 21 birdies between them – a new Ryder Cup record – with the 211 yard par three fourth the only hole on the Gleneagles PGA Centenary course where none of the players could manage better than par.

 

"We have those rare moments in the game and I think Ryder Cup is amazing because the pressure is so much that you have one choice, you either focus or you struggle. Obviously I went the right way with it all today," said Rose.

 

Europe's duo, led impressively by Rose, were 12 under for their 16 holes – another record for the event – but it was the way the Englishman in particular responded to everything the United States pair of Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson threw at them early on.

 

They were not ahead until the 12th, when Stenson stole his partner's thunder by holing a 15 foot putt having watched Rose drill a mid-iron to four feet, but once they got in front they never released their grip.

 

But there was no chance of them coasting home as the Americans ensured there was no drop in the high standards they had set themselves by twice halving holes with birdies.

 

Kuchar set the tone by beating Rose to a birdie at the opening hole but the Englishman's six-footer at the second was the first of seven he would put on his card.

 

It was not just the scoring but the air of certainty Rose exuded whenever he stood over a putt.

 

Having seen Watson card his second birdie of the day at the fourth Rose matched it from 18 feet, grazed the hole with a birdie attempt at the seventh and holed from 20 feet at the eighth to prompt the first real fist-pump, wheeling away to point at the packed gallery behind him as they got back to all square.

 

Rose's best shot of the day – a brilliant three wood approach out of deep rough to 20 feet at the par five ninth – failed to bring any reward as Stenson had already made birdie when he skimmed the hole with his eagle attempt.

 

Putt after putt dropped – most of Rose's were from outside ten feet – and when the end came Europe had birdied ten in a row.

 

"Twenty-one birdies in 16 holes between us, that's something special," said Stenson.

 

"It might be a highlight to put on the big screen with the grandkids one day."

 

Watson, four under for his own round, could only marvel at the spectacle.

 

"We probably would have beat all the other teams – we just had to play against them," he said.

 

"We got two down with four or five holes to play and then we started counting, like, they birdied every hole.

 

"That's when you realise what a moment that was. Obviously I wish I was on the other end but I guess my name will be in the record book somehow."

 

From europeantour.com

 

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