A dominant display in the afternoon foursomes saw Europe come from behind to hold a two point lead over the United States going into the second day of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland.
Paul McGinley's side won three-and-a-half points from a possible four in the final session of the day after the US looked the more comfortable outfit in the morning's fourballs.
England's Justin Rose and Swede Henrik Stenson emerged as the star pairing for a European side looking to win the Ryder Cup for a third consecutive time, as they swept to a 5&4 win over Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson in the morning before overcoming Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2&1 in the foursomes.
US captain took Tom Watson took the brave decision to pair debutants Jordan Speith and Patrick Reed in the morning fourballs and the rookies fully justified the call by putting in an impressive performance to emerge with a 5&4 victory over home favourite Stephen Gallacher and England's Ian Poulter.
That was one of two victories for the Americans on a bright and sunny morning in Perthshire, as Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley picked up where they left off in Medinah two years ago by claiming their fourth straight point in the competition with victory over the heavyweight pairing of Northern Ireland's world number one Rory McIlroy and Spanish world number three Sergio Garcia.
The match between Dane Thomas Bjorn and Germany's Martin Kaymer, and Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, ended all square to leave the Americans leading 2 ½ to 1 ½ going into the foursomes.
Walker and Fowler looked set to secure a crucial point for the US when they were two up after 12 holes in their battle with McIlroy and Fowler in the afternoon session.
Debutant Walker had a three-foot putt on 16 to win the match but failed to convert and after McIlroy drained a 40-footer on 17, the European duo took advantage of their lifeline with a stunning five-wood from Garcia setting up the birdie chance on 18,
which McIlroy duly sank to grab what could be a crucial half-point come Sunday evening.
McIlroy's compatriot Graeme McDowell delivered the knockout blow on the 16th hole as he and French first-timer Victor Dubuisson ended Mickelson and Bradley's winning streak with a 3&2 victory.
McGinley's decision to pair the experienced Englishman Lee Westwood - appearing in his ninth Ryder Cup - with Welsh debutant Jamie Donaldson proved another smart move as they beat Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar by two holes to secure the first foursomes point of the afternoon.
"My first Ryder Cup was just an incredible day," said Donaldson.
"That first tee is like a sudden death playoff in a major - it feels like there's 20,000 people on one hole.
"It's an awesome event to play in.
"I was playing against two quality players like Jim and Kuch - it's a battle.
"I think we played as well as we could have played there and [it came down to] the last, so it just shows how tough it is in this great format."
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