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Both pairings cancelled each other out on the first three holes before Garcia lit up the Gleneagles crowd on the fourth when holing from the bunker to draw first blood for Europe.
The two teams were showing signs of nerves with neither making any birdies, but Bradley took advantage of a slip-up from Garcia to level the game after seven holes.
The eighth was shared, but a bunker shot from Mickelson earned him his birdie, and after McIlroy failed to drain a 20-foot putt, the American duo edged ahead at the turn.
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