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USA sips Ryder Cup of success on Day 1

CHICAGO, Illinois--The United States emerged victorious from a pulsating first day's play in the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on Friday, dominating the afternoon fourballs to take a 5-3 overall lead.

In a format that habitually favors the Europeans, Davis Love's team took the fourballs 3-1 after sharing the alternate ball foursomes 2-2 in the morning's play.

All 24 players were in action during a day which started so promisingly for Europe but which ended so positively for the United States who are out to regain the trophy lost in Wales two years ago.

“Just everybody played real well and hung in there and had a lot of fun. Seemed like as the sun came out, we just got better and better,” Love said.

The American heroes were rookie Keegan Bradley, showing passion and talent in securing two points with Phil Mickelson, who was winning a record ninth U.S. cap, and Bubba Watson who fired up the big Chicago crowd with his attacking game.

“This is one of the most emotional days playing in a Ryder Cup that we'll ever have,” Mickelson said.

“It gets emotion out of every player, good or bad, and this has been one of the biggest highs that we've had.

“I just love playing with Keegan. He's just played so good all day and it's just kept me up the whole time. It's been awesome.”

Tiger Woods was out of sorts for most of the day, losing twice with established partner Steve Stricker.

“I didn't play very good this morning at all,” Woods said. “I was hitting it awful and not doing anything well. But I hit it good this afternoon.”

For Europe, Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts excelled with an eagle and eight birdies, but eyebrows were raised over captain Jose Maria Olazabal's non-selection of Ryder Cup firebrand Ian Poulter for the fourballs after he and Justin Rose had beaten Woods and Stricker in the morning.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy played both sessions with fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell and they met with mixed success, winning in the morning and losing in the afternoon.

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

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USA's Bubba Watson hits out of a bunker on the 10th hole during a fourball match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Friday. (AP)

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