Golf

United States charges to 3-1 lead

LOUISVILLE — The United States got off to a strong start in the 37th Ryder Cup Friday morning, giving the home fans at Valhalla Golf Club plenty to cheer.

The Americans finished the foursomes (alternate-shot) with a 3-1 lead in points.

Kentuckian Kenny Perry, paired with Jim Furyk, played well for most of the morning, but had a forgettable finish.

Perry had a birdie putt on No. 16 that would have closed out the match against Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, but he ran it past.

Furyk then missed the par, and the Europeans halved the hole with a bogey to stay two down with two to go.

After Perry missed an 8-footer on the 17th that would have won it, Garcia and Westwood took the hole, and went to the 18th one down.

Then came disaster. Perry hit his drive on the par-5 18th into the creek along the right side of the fairway.

That opened the door for Garcia and Westwood to win the hole and halve the match.

"That's just golf," Perry said. "I hit a poor approach putt on the 16th when I could've ended it. The momentum kind of shifted."

It was a morning of big comebacks for the Americans.

Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim rallied from three down to halve their match with Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson.

Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell rallied from three down on the front nine to beat Justin Rose and Ian Poulter 1-up.

"We didn't play perfectly, but we recovered from our mistakes," Cink said.

"Any time you turn the scoreboard around from blue (Europe) to red (U.S.), it boosts your confidence not only for the week but also your teammates."

Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan won a point for the U.S. by beating Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson 3 and 2.

The Americans lost the first two holes, but came back strong.

Former University of Kentucky star J.B. Holmes was to see his first action Friday afternoon in fourball competition. He was to be paired with Boo Weekley, against Lee Westwood and Soren Hansen.

The fourball matches:

■ Phil Mickelson-Anthony Kim vs. Padraig Harriington-Graeme McDowell.

■ Steve Stricker-Ben Curtis vs. Ian Poulter-Justin Rose.

■ Justin Leonard-Hunter Mahan vs. Sergio Garcia-Miguel Angel Jiminez.

■ J.B. Holmes-Boo Weekley vs. Lee Westwood-Soren Hansen.

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