Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2023 Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy
43rd Ryder Cup - Afternoon four-ball Matches
Photo Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Tyrrell Hatton provided late hope but Europe will head into day two of the 43rd Ryder Cup 6-2 down after a dominant performance by the United States at Whistling Straits.

The home side had won the first foursomes session 3-1 and while Europe got up in three of the afternoon four-balls, the tide soon turned.

Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele defeated Paul Casey and Wiesberger 2 & 1, while the Austrian's fellow debutant Shane Lowry was beaten 4 & 3 by Harris English and Tony Finau alongside Rory McIlroy.

Tommy Fleetwood and another rookie in Viktor Hovland held on for a half against Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas but the late drama belonged to Hatton, who birdied the last to snatch a half in partnership with Jon Rahm against Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler.

With a four point advantage, the United States hold their biggest first day lead since continental Europe joined the biennial contest in 1979 and the biggest by any team since Bernhard Langer's Europeans led 6½-1½ at Oakland Hills in 2004.

The victories for Johnson and Schauffele, and English and Finau handed the US a 5-1 lead and all European eyes turned to the remaining matches on the course, in which Europe were up in one and down in one by a single hole.

There had never been more than a point in Match 2 and it was the Americans who led stood on the 17th tee before Hatton put his second to seven feet and made the putt to take a potentially vital half.

Fleetwood and Hovland had led by three in the anchor match but they were reeled in by the 16th and had to show nerves of steel to hold off a charging Thomas inspired by a buoyant crowd over the final two holes.

Hatton played a stunning bunker shot to get up and down and win the fourth but DeChambeau produced something remarkable on the next, driving 417 yards over the fans to set up a 72 yard approach and an eagle from four feet.

Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland
Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

A 21 foot putt from DeChambeau put the US 1 Up on the eighth but Rahm hit straight back from seven feet on the ninth. A 16 footer on the tenth from Scheffler swung the match back towards the Americans but Rahm again hit back from six feet on the 11th as four consecutive holes were won with birdies.

A ragged drive from Rahm and a second which found the sand from Hatton left the door open on the 15th and a DeChambeau par was enough to take the hole before Hatton's late heroics.

“To birdie two of the last three, with a really good chance at 17, it feels good to get that half-point. Things like this can turn the tide,” said Rahm.

Hatton’s fourth birdie of the day was perfectly timed and he hoped it would make a difference.

You are never out of the fight. That was obviously huge for the team and hopefully that can turn the momentum our way
— Tyrrell Hatton

“You are never out of the fight. That was obviously huge for the team and hopefully that can turn the momentum our way,” he said. “It’s obviously a good feeling to roll that one in on the last.

"It's going to be a big day tomorrow. Hopefully momentum is on our side and we'll give it our best."

Thomas put an approach to 12 feet to win the first but Hovland spectacularly chipped in at the third, a par was good enough to hand him the next, and when Fleetwood holed a 16 footer from just off the green at the sixth, Europe were 2 Up.

A nine footer from Fleetwood on the eighth made it a three hole lead but Thomas produced a wild celebration when winning the next and Fleetwood missed chances from inside six feet to win the tenth and 11th.

The momentum seemed to shift and Cantlay was inches from an ace at the 12th before Thomas made a 17 footer on the 16th for an eagle and another exuberant celebration, with Europe holding on at the end.

"It was a really, really good match," said Fleetwood. "Like me and Viktor both said walking down the last, whatever result was going to happen, we've given it everything. I had such an amazing day with this guy and it was like a pleasure to be involved in that match."

Hovland added: "I would have liked to maybe put some more points on the board but I don't think it's possible to have a more fun time, and with Tommy today, we were just a great team today. We could have gotten the win out but hopefully we have a chance to set the record straight tomorrow."

Casey and Wiesberger were in trouble early as Johnson and Schauffele won the third, fourth and fifth before a pair of brilliant approaches from the Europeans helped claw a hole back on the next.

A six footer from Casey at the ninth cut the lead to one at the turn but the US won the tenth and 11th and, while a lovely pitch from Casey kept things alive on the 16th, it was all over on the next.

McIlroy holed a 30 footer on the fifth for an eagle but that was as good as it got for Europe in Match 3, with Finau putting on a stunning putting display as the hosts won the sixth, eighth, ninth, tenth and 13th.

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