Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson
Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson got the ball rolling for Europe in the afternoon foursomesGetty Images/Ross Kinnaird

Team Europe produced a brilliant comeback in the afternoon foursomes to lead the United States 5-3 going into day two of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

Paul McGinley's team trailed 2½ -1½ after the morning fourballs but they were sparked into action by Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson beating the experienced American duo of Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar 2up.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson secured their second point of the day by overcoming Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2 and 1 to thrust the holders ahead, but there was yet more drama in the final two groups.

Trailing by two with two holes to play, world number one Rory McIlroy and world number three Sergio Garcia produced successive birdies at 17 and 18, which included a monster putt from four-time major champion McIlroy, to claim a crucial half a point in the third match.

The final pairing saw Graeme McDowell and another debutant in Victor Dubuisson beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley 3 and 2 to cap a fine afternoon for Europe.

"We've seen it in the Ryder Cup over the last few years how important momentum switches can create a domino effect," said McGinley. "So when the American's ended the morning well, it was gutsy to react and it showed a real strength of character.

"That's what happens when you go out and play well and get beaten. Great day, lots of momentum but let's take stock now; it's a big day tomorrow."