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Golf: Europe Takes Early Lead in Ryder Cup Competition


Europe has jumped out to the early lead in the Ryder Cup team golf competition against the United States at the K-Club in Straffan, Ireland.

In the four matches of four-ball Friday morning, the Europeans won two, lost one and split the other for a 2.5 to 1.5 points lead.

The only victory for the Americans came from world number-one Tiger Woods and number-three Jim Furyk, who beat Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, one up.

In four-ball, each partner plays his own ball with the best score counting for the pair. The lowest score on a hole earns the pair one point.

Woods had an ominous start on the first hole, driving his tee shot into the water. But Furyk made a two-meter birdie putt giving the Americans a quick lead. They led by as many as three before settling for the one hole victory for the first U.S. point.

Americans Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry halved their match with Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson. The winning European points came from Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia, who beat David Toms and Brett Wetterich, 3 and 2, and from Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood, who topped Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco, one up.