Golf / Bradley Magic Inspires U.S. to Convincing Ryder Cup Lead

The U.S. is now the favorite to win golf's most prestigious team competition, which sees 12 U.S. golfers taking on 12 from Europe.

Rookie Keegan Bradley inspired his teammates to take control of the 39th Ryder Cup as he and partner Phil Mickelson outplayed Lee Westwood and Luke Donald for a 7-6 win.

The win at the Medinah Country Club, which took Bradley and Mickelson's score at this competition to 3-0, gave the U.S. its first point of another excellent session, which ended with the U.S. up 8-4 going into the afternoon's four-ball matches.

Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson secured a 2-1 win against Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia, with Belgian Colsaerts, who was on fire in Friday's four-ball match, struggling to match his performance from the previous day.

In the final flight, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell came back strongly toward the end against Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk, but failed to close the deal.

After world No. 1 McIlroy missed an easy 8-foot putt on the 17th hole, which would have made the match all-square, the U.S. went onto the final tee-box a hole up and then saw the hole out as the Europeans conceded after they failed to hole their birdie putt.

Ian Poulter and Justin Rose gave Europe the only point of the morning session as they beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 1Up.

Poulter, who started the morning session, urged the crowd to chant and make noise during his opening shot, setting the tone for another session of magnificent golf.

Simpson had a 10-foot putt on the 18th hole to square the match, but just missed the cup.

Ahead of the start of the match, airplanes had painted a tribute for Spaniard golfing legend Seve Ballesteros into the sky. The message said: "Let's go Europe, do it for Seve."

In a surprise move, U.S. captain Davis Love III decided not to play Tiger Woods in the foursomes. " He took it very well and said he just wants to help the team."

It was the first time in his Ryder Cup career that Woods has not been selected to play in a session.

Mickelson, who is playing in his ninth Ryder Cup tournament, tied the American record of 37 Ryder Cup matches.

He said it was a great feeling to celebrate equaling the record with a victory. "It was nice to play with Keegan. He has played phenomenal golf. We provided a lot of energy for each other and it has brought out the best in us.

"Even though this is my ninth tournament, it has been the most exhilarating experience at the Ryder Cup. Keegan's youthful excitement to play in his first competition gets me excited, so we were able to be at our best."

Bradley said he was simply enjoying every minute of the competition. "You can make a putt on the second hole, but it is like making one at a major on Sunday. I am just enjoying it so much and it has been a great couple of days."

The U.S. is now the favorite to win golf's most prestigious team competition, which sees 12 U.S. golfers taking on 12 from Europe.