America dominated the afternoon fourballs to storm into a 5-3 lead over Europe after day one at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah.
After recovering to draw the morning foursomes, the USA continued their momentum into the afternoon, with a series of brilliant performances, sparked by the pair of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, who won both of their day one matches.
The hosts were able to pick up three points in the fourballs, but Nicholas Colsaerts single handedly kept Europe in the hunt, winning the final match with Lee Westwood to set up an intriguing second day in Chicago.
Riding on a crest of a wave having salvaged a 2-2 draw in the morning foursomes, rookie pair Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson hit the front from the first against Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson, and never looked back as the American approach play continued to impress.
The pair eventually secured the first point of the afternoon, with a 5&4 victory, but that was just the start for Davis Love III's team.
Two of the victorious pairs from the morning went head to head in the second match as Northern Irish duo Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy took on Mickelson and Bradley, with the European's again outclassed by the US pair.
While Bradley, on his first Ryder Cup appearance, came to the fore in the morning, it was Mickelson's turn to lead from the front in the afternoon, with the four-time major winner producing a series of sensational approaches to set the American's up for a 2&1 win.
Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson took little or no time to make it a third point from three fourballs matches, defeating an out of sorts pair in Martin Kaymer and Justin Rose 3&2, leaving the pressure on Westwood and Colsaerts to keep Europe in the hunt.
The Belgian debutant produced a crucial birdie at 15 to keep Europe two ahead, but Tiger Woods, who recovered from his morning trials to produce some of his best golf of the year, continued to peg back the holders.
And had Woods holed a 10ft putt on the last, with partner Steve Stricker a virtual spectator for much of the match, US would have snatched half a point from the jaws of defeat, as Europe took a solitary point to leave themselves in contention going into the second day of foursomes and fourballs play.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabel said: "The afternoon was tough. That last point [from Nicolas Colsaerts and Lee Westwood] was very important."
Rory McIlroy added: "We're only two points behind with eight to play for on Saturday so we're still in a decent position. We're pretty strong on foursomes so if we get a good start in the morning and even things up that would be great.
"The atmosphere is incredible. You can feed off the energy but when people are cheering for the other guys you've just got to stay focused. It's definitely nothing like Celtic Manor was a couple of years ago."
Love said of the American performance: 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."
The holders had begun the morning foursomes session much the better, with all four pairs all leading at one stage, and the team of McDowell and McIlroy going three clear with six holes to play.
But opponents Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker staged a remarkable comeback with three successive birdies, before the European pair snatched the full point on the 18th, as McDowell holed out.
But the first point of the day came from the hosts, through Mickelson, whose Ryder Cup record has never replicated his success on the tour, and rookie Bradley as the pair overturned the lead set up by Luka Donald and Sergio Garcia, who had never previously lost a fourballs match together, and pulled out a huge lead to win 4&3.
After a roller-coaster front nine, the American pair of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson pulled away in match three against Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari, with the former's shot into the water at 15 ending the European's hopes of a comeback.
While the final match didn't produce the deluge of birdies we'd seen in the opening exchanges, Poulter and Rose were able to level the scores with victory over Stricker and Woods, who looked off colour for much of the round.
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