Published Sunday, 30 September 2012
Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy of Europe celebrate (© Getty)
Poulter produced a spectacular five closing birdies, the last of them from 10 feet in near darkness, to give himself and McIlroy victory on the final green over Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson - meaning Europe trails by just four points going into Sunday's singles matches at Medinah.
It came after a remarkable last-hole win by Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia over Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, who is now the joint holder of the record for most defeats by an American in the event's history.
It was Woods' third defeat of the week after being left out of the morning foursomes.
Poulter said: "We needed to get something going. We had to make birdies and wow - five in a row. It was awesome."
They had been two down with six to play and McIlroy added: "At least I had a little bit to do with it, making birdie at 13, but when Ian gets that look in his eyes it's really impressive.
"It was incredible making that run like we did."
I had the world number one backing me up and it allowed me to hit some shots.
Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal stated: "Those last two matches were massive. It gives us a chance - it's been done in the past.
"Things have not gone our way, especially on the greens, but I believe momentum will come our way. Why not tomorrow?"
Earlier the gap was six points when Masters champion Bubba Watson and US Open winner Webb Simpson hammered Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari 5&4 and then Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar edged Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie on the last.
In the morning, McIlroy and Graeme McDowell had lost to Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.
They were the two Americans they beat at the start of the match, but revenge was sweet as the home pair halved the final two holes for a one-up win.
McDowell, the 2010 match-winner at Celtic Manor, was then told he was watching the afternoon action, as was Westwood, while Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer were rested all day.
On Sunday McIlroy is out third against unbeaten Keegan Bradley as Europe try to claw back their four-point deficit.
Luke Donald leads things off and will play Masters champion Bubba Watson.
Poulter, who like Bradley has won his first three games, follows against US Open champion Webb Simpson.
Woods faces Francesco Molinari in last.