Ian Poulter: holed crucial putts to keep Europe in with a chance
Two late fourballs victories revived Europe's chances of retaining the Ryder Cup after an entralling second day at Medinah Country Club.Davis Love's side dominated the morning foursomes and looked on course to take a six-point lead into Sunday's singles, but Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia put some blue on the board after edging out Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.Ian Poulter then capped a fantastic final hour for the holders, nailing a series of remarkable pressure putts as he and Rory McIlroy pipped Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson on the final green to reduce the overall arrears to 10-6.The scoreboard was a sea of red early on as the home side led in all four morning foursomes, but Poulter and Rose limited the damage with a tense one-up win over Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson.Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson continued to send the home fans into raptures with a crushing 7&6 win over Donald and Lee Westwood, while Furyk and Snedeker avenged their first-day defeat to McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.Simpson then produced a putting masterclass as he and fellow major champion Watson cruised to a 5&4 win over Rose and Francesco Molinari in the top fourballs clash.Paul Lawrie and first-day hero Nicolas Colsaerts were then pipped by Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson, whose superb 20-footer for birdie at the 17th proved the difference.Donald and Garcia cruised into a four-hole lead over Stricker and Woods, who looked a forlorn man after spraying his ball to all parts of the front nine.But the wounded Tiger was a different animal after the turn as he made four straight birdies to whittle the lead down to one, with clutch putting from Donald keeping the Europeans in front.Stricker's seven-foot putt to salvage a half at the last lipped out as he and Woods suffered their third straight defeat, while Garcia and Donald celebrated their first point.The focus then moved to the final match of the day, in which Poulter was again inspired on the greens as he and McIlroy fought back from two down with six to play.McIlroy ignited the rally with a two at the 13th, and Poulter birdied the next three to take the British pair into the lead.Poulter then drained another hole-saving putt on 17 to combat a cracking tee shot from Johnson, and the Englishman was on target again at the last after Dufner had birdied from five feet.Poulter's fifth consecutive birdie in fading light earned him a remarkable 11th win in his 14 Ryder Cup matches, and did much to lift European spirits heading into the final day.The largest comeback in Ryder Cup history was at Brookline in 1999, when the USA won from a 10-6 deficit on the final day. "It's been done before," a defiant Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal said.Bubba Watson for one insists there is still plenty fight left in the European team."The team is not going to lay down. Europe is not going to lay down. They are not going to give it to us. We have to play good golf and come out focused and ready to win some points," he said.