Saturday is the penultimate session of the 2012 Ryder Cup and a number of golfers have begun the day with a strong showing. Here are three pairs who can keep up their fast starts.
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley
Mickelson has been inconsistent over the last two months. He finished second and fourth at the BMW Championship and the Deutsche Bank Championship respectively, but placed outside of the Top-30 at the two preceding events.
Lefty has a long history at the Ryder Cup and has competed in the tournament on nine different occasions. That is only two behind Englishman Nick Faldo for most all time.
Part of Mickelson’s personal gratification has been working with younger golfers. He is paired with Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
They had an outstanding morning and won every hole in their matchup with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. Both are playing with carefree confidence and should continue to do so as the event concludes.
Justin Rose and Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter has putted very well for much of the morning. As I wrote that last sentence, he drilled a beautiful, left-hooking putt from just off the green.
Justin Rose finished second at the TOUR Championship a week ago and placed third at the PGA Championship in early August.
The European duo began the day one-up over the first two holes and, after losing the lead for seven holes, regained a two-stroke lead going into Hole 13.
Hole 13 is one of the trickiest ones of the event, as golfers must drive over a stretch of water to reach a bunker-lined green. While Americans Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson struggled—the first stroke sent them into a bunker and they narrowly avoided a double bogey—Rose and Poulter handled it beautifully.
They will both be difficult to knock off.
Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson
Like the Mickelson-Bradley pair, as well as Furyk-Snedeker duo, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson are a group of Americans in the lead. However, unlike the latter, Dufner and Johnson are not facing Rory McIlroy. That has to improve their chances to maintain their start.
Jason Dufner is the No. 4 player in the world and has brought in just under five million dollars this year. His summer has been relatively disappointing (only one Top-10 finish since August 9). Perhaps the atmosphere of the Ryder Cup will help him. The same could be said for Dufner, who has underachieved since the beginning of August.