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U.S. close in on Ryder Cup glory despite late Poulter heroics

updated 8:17 PM EDT, Sat September 29, 2012
Ian Poulter kept Europe clinging on in their Ryder Cup battle with the United States in Chicago.
Ian Poulter kept Europe clinging on in their Ryder Cup battle with the United States in Chicago.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • United States of America lead Europe 10-6 going into final day of 39th Ryder Cup
  • U.S. dominate morning foursomes but late afternoon points give Europe hope
  • Tiger Woods loses third straight match after being rested for first time in Ryder Cup
  • Two Ian Poulter inspired matches help Europe cling onto American coat tails

(CNN) -- Two Ian Poulter-inspired victories offered Europe a glimmer of hope in their quest to retain the Ryder Cup after another day dominated by brilliance from the United States.

Despite Poulter's heroics, David Love III's team took a commanding 10-6 lead with only the 12 singles match to come on Sunday.

The last time a team came back from such a large deficit was at the infamous clash at Brookline in 1999 when Justin Leonard capped a superb fightback for the United States.

But after taking five points from a possible eight on offer, Love's side are firmly in the driving seat and on course to record their first victory since 2008.

Day Two of the Ryder Cup as it happened

Sunday would have been a procession had it not been for England's Poulter, who revels in the matchplay format in the Ryder Cup and kept European captain Jose Maria Olazabal's dream alive.

He made five straight birdies on the final five holes as he and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy wrestled a point from Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner.

And his ten foot putt on the final hole to secure victory was greeted with wild scenes of celebration from a European team that had looked down and out at one stage on Saturday.

"It comes from within," Poulter said of yet another strong performance in the Ryder Cup. "If we can do anything to get our hands on this trophy, with Seve (Ballesteros, who died in 2011) looking down on us, you've got to do what you've got to do.

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"We've got a chance and that's all we could've done. We've got to take it to them tomorrow - it's that simple. I want to go out early tomorrow."

McIlroy said of his afternoon partner: "We needed something to happen, some sort of spark, and after 13, Ian took over from there.

"All the credit needs to be put on this man. We can feed off his positivity, for sure. We clawed it back thanks to some incredible golf from Ian."

Shortly before Poulter and McIlroy's victory, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia held on for a narrow victory over Steve Stricker and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, who has now lost all three matches he has played in Chicago.

But in the afternoon's other two matches Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson trounced Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari 5&4 while Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson defeated Paul Lawrie and Nicolas Colsaerts one up.

Earlier, Poulter and Justin Rose spared Europe a humiliating whitewash in the morning foursomes. The English pairing edged past Watson and Simpson, grabbing a precious point on the 18th green.

"It was absolutely key. Jose put us out number one for a reason and that was to get a point," Poulter said.

But it was the high point on an otherwise miserable morning for the European team.

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald were hammered 7&6 by Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson with Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson heaping on further misery with a 2&1 win over Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell were also unable to stem the U.S. tide conceding defeat to Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker on the final green.

Despite their two dramatic victories on the 18th green, Europe still have a mountain to climb on Sunday, needing eight points from the 12 on offer to retain the trophy.

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