Ryder Cup 2012 live scores: Zach Johnson defeats Graeme McDowell, 2 and 1; U.S. leads, 12-11

Jamie Squire - Getty Images

American Zach Johnson picked up a crucial 2 and 1 win over Graeme McDowell to put the U.S. back in front, 12-11.

With Europe rallying from a 10-6 deficit to start the day and the score tied, 11-11, Zach Johnson came up with a big win for the Americans on Sunday afternoon at Medinah Country Club. Johnson defeated Europe's Graeme McDowell, 2 and 1, to take the point and give the U.S. a 12-11 lead at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

Johnson took advantage of two McDowell miscues in the first four holes and took an early 3-up lead. McDowell bogeyed Nos. 1 and 4, allowing Johnson to win the holes with pars. Johnson also birdied to win the par-4 4th hole. After McDowell closed the deficit with a birdie of his own on the par-5 5th, he shot a 6 on No. 7, another par-5, and Johnson was able to win the hole with a par. McDowell cut Johnson's lead again with a birdie at No. 9, but the players were evenly matched on the back nine, and Johnson walked away from No. 17 with the point.

Johnson was the model of consistency, shooting even-par over 17 holes. The American bogeyed No. 13, but McDowell was unable to take advantage.

The 2012 edition of the Ryder Cup is heading down to the wire. With five matches still in progress, the Europeans lead two, the Americans lead two and one is all square. Should the current results hold, the U.S. will win by the thinnest of margins, 14½-13½. As the defending champions, Europe needs just a 14-14 tie to win the event.

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