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Honours shared

Medinah: The United States and Europe split the opening foursome matches at the 39th Ryder Cup on Friday after a gripping, birdie-filled session that tested the nerves and skill of every player.

Despite trailing early on in all four alternate-shot encounters, the Americans fought back to tie the scores at 2-2 after the morning session.

They earned their first point when Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson beat Britain’s Luke Donald and Spaniard Sergio Garcia 4&3, then a second when Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner defeated Englishman Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari of Italy 3&2.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell came through for Europe when they edged Furyk and Snedeker one up after a tense, fluctuating battle in the top match before Ian Poulter and Justin Rose squared the ledger by beating an out of sorts Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 2&1.

Woods was woefully erratic off the tee and struck a spectator on the head with a wayward drive at the par-five seventh, the bystander having to wipe the blood away with a towel.

Cup rookie Bradley drained a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-four 15th as the US duo came from one down after eight holes on a cool, breezy day at Medinah Country Club.

It was the first time Donald and Garcia had been beaten in foursomes matches together dating back to the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills.

Mickelson and Bradley made a good start after being sent out in the second match, going one up on Donald and Garcia.