Golf

Lee Westwood puts hands up after heavy loss

 Europe's Lee Westwood plays a shot from the bunker on the 11th 
Carl Markham at Hazeltine

RYDER Cup veteran Lee Westwood shouldered full responsibility for the dreadful 5&4 loss to America’s Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar which saw the hosts take a 4-0 lead after the morning foursomes.

The Englishman, playing in his 10th successive event, was paired with rookie Thomas Pieters and was charged with helping the 24-year-old Belgian get round in his first outing.

However, despite a comforting arm around his partner’s back on the first tee there was little other support from the 43-year-old, who was one of captain Darren Clarke’s picks in order to get some experience into a team which features six debutants.

“I will take responsibility. I played poorly and Thomas played well. He made some putts when we needed to,” said Westwood, who is two points short of Nick Faldo’s alltime record haul of 25 points.

“You try to put a bit of pressure on, you don’t want to be giving holes away.

“I hit a couple of wild drives early on (he drove into a bunker at the first and into the water at the seventh) and you can’t afford to do that.

“It’s a tough game to play and you want to get momentum.”

Another disappointment for Europe on the opening morning came in Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer’s match against Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson.

The European duo took the lead on the second hole and held it for nine holes but Garcia missed a couple of crucial putts to extend their advantage and USA hit back by winning five holes in-a-row in a 4&2 victory.

“When you have chances, you’ve got to take them,” said Garcia.

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