RYDER Cup veteran Phil Mickelson heaped praise on partner Keegan Bradley after the rookie put Europe to the sword on Friday.
The inspirational duo claimed wins in both the foursomes and fourballs to help USA edge in front on the opening day in Chicago.
The hosts threatened to take a grip on this year’s Cup late Friday night.
Bradley and Mickelson proved too strong for Europe’s dynamic duo Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia in the foursomes – claiming a 4&3 victory.
Later in the day it was Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell who were on the receiving end – the Northern Irish duo losing 2&1.
“Keegan’s positive energy is awesome – he kept me going today,” Mickelson – playing in his ninth Ryder Cup – said.
“We just kept hitting the fairways with our drives and we were having short irons into the greens.
“After a while that is going to break you down.”
McIlroy and McDowell claimed a point with a one-hole victory over Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker as the morning foursomes finished tied at 2-2.
In the afternoon Masters winner Bubba Watson – whipping up the crowd even before he hit a shot – and shock US Open winner Webb Simpson led a fourball charge, blitzing Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson 5&4.
USA boasted a 4-2 lead late last night but looked destined for more joy before the end of play.
Dustin Johnston and Matt Kucher led Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer by three with three to play while Lee Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts were one ahead of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker with two to play.