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Europe Takes Lead at Ryder Cup Golf Match - 2002-09-27

Europe has grabbed a surprising early lead at the 34th Ryder Cup golf match with the United States. VOA's Jim Stevenson is at the Belfry course in Sutton Coldfield, England and reports the first three points have gone to the home team.

Spectators roared as Europe won the first point at the Ryder Cup.

The U.S. team was expected to jump quickly in front because of recent playing slumps experienced by many on the European team. But in the fourball or best ball match play format early Friday, the Europeans were in firm control.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood of Britain captured the first point, up four holes with three remaining against Americans David Duval and Davis Love. Just minutes later, Colin Montgomerie of Scotland and German Bernhard Langer took the second point by the same four-and-three score over Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk.

Dubbed "the Tiger killers" because of past success in the Ryder Cup, Darren Clarke of Ireland and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark defeated world number one ranked Tiger Woods and fellow American Paul Azinger by one hole. The United States salvaged one point from the morning session with a one hole victory by Phil Mickelson and David Toms over Padrag Harrington of Ireland and Niklas Fasth of Sweden.

The Ryder Cup continues through Sunday with more foursomes and head-to-head competition, each worth one point.