MEDINAH, Ill. — European Ryder Cup Team Captain Jose Maria Olazabal would not declare that he had a good feeling about Sundays singles matches in the 39th Ryder Cup.
Why would he? All of the good vibes at Medinah Country Club through the first two days have been with the United States team and its raucous Chicago-area crowd at least until the final hour of action Saturday.
The U.S. onslaught in team matches continued Saturday morning, and only a flurry of birdies late in the afternoon by European stars Luke Donald and Ian Poulter kept Sundays 12 matches from being little more than a formality.
Poulter and Donald helped Europe avoid a possible sweep in the afternoon four-ball matches and claim 1 up victories to keep the Europeans within four points at 10-6.
That was huge. That gives us just a chance, Olazabal said. Its been done before. Things have not gone our way . . . but sometimes one point can change things, and why not tomorrow?
The four-point difference is the same deficit the U.S. team overcame in 1999 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., which accounts for the largest comeback on Sunday in Ryder Cup history.
Then U.S. captain Ben Crenshaw proclaimed he had a good feeling about the Sunday matches that year. But the U.S. rode the support of a boisterous crowd that day, and the team in charge will have the benefit of the crowds energy Sunday at Medinah.
We havent lost a segment yet and were going to try tomorrow to keep that string going, said U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain Davis Love III.
The U.S. has sandwiched a pair of 3-1 victories in Friday afternoons four-ball (best ball) and Saturday mornings foursome (alternate shot) matches between a pair of 2-2 splits.
The U.S. dominance comes without a single point from its highest ranked and most high profile player, Tiger Woods, who has gone 0-3 with familiar partner Steve Stricker.
Bubba Watson and partner Webb Simpson claimed a 5 and 4 victory over Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari in the opening afternoon four-ball match Saturday, and Coastal Carolina alumnus Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar followed with a 1 up victory over Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie.
Johnson holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th green to give the U.S. the 1 up lead and he protected it with a par on the par-4 18th.
But Donald and partner Sergio Garcia withstood four birdies in the final six holes by Woods to claim a 1 up win, largely because of three birdies in the final five holes by Donald.
He followed a Woods tee shot to 5 feet on the par-3 17th with one to 3 feet as the pair exchanged birdies, and Woods missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th that could have halved the match.
Poulter put on the days most impressive display, hitting crisp iron shots and making five consecutive putts on the final five holes letting out an intense scream with each to claim a 1 up victory with Rory McIlroy over Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. Poulter holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to improve to 3-0 in the team matches at Medinah.
I think the Ryder Cup should build a statue for him, you know, Olazabal said. Thats Poulter. Thats why we say that hes such a special character for this event. He thrives at this event.
The Europeans were generally compliant opponents in the morning foursomes, as no European pairing was under par through the first 10 holes of all four matches, and three teams finished their matches over par. Only the McIlroy-Graeme McDowell pairing was par or better at 2 under.
You can see the difference mainly around the greens, Olazabal said. Our boys are not making putts. And its true that some of them havent performed to their expectations.
European frustration reached a crescendo when Molinari, who had motioned for the crowd to quiet down following his birdie on the 11th that halved the hole, saw his chip shot narrowly miss the cup on the 12th hole and slammed his club to the ground.
In the morning foursomes, Keegan Bradley continued to emerge as a Ryder Cup rock star, teaming with Phil Mickelson to win their third consecutive match with a trouncing of Lee Westwood and Donald two of the top five players in the world rankings 7 and 6. It matched the largest margin of victory in the history of Ryder Cup team matches.
To be able to share this experience with Keegan and partake in his great play and experience a Ryder Cup together has been really awesome, Mickelson said. Weve had so much fun, the crowd has provided so much energy and its brought our best golf out.
Dufner and Zach Johnson defeated Colsaerts and Garcia 2 and 1, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker topped McIlroy and McDowell 1 up, and the European duo of Rose and Poulter defeated Simpson and Watson 1 up.
Woods was held out of a match for the first time in his Ryder Cup career covering 32 sessions in the morning foursomes. He has the final U.S. singles match against Molinari in a contest that could be deemed unnecessary by mid-afternoon.
We have to go out and still play some really good golf tomorrow and make sure that we dont let a comeback like  happen to us, Kuchar said.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.