U.S. extends advantage, leads 9-3 after Saturday Foursomes
Same plan, same score. With temperatures a touch cooler and partisan crowds much more engaged, the U.S. Ryder Cup Team sent out the same eight men who delivered in Foursomes play 24 hours earlier. They replicated the score from each of the first two sessions, taking three of four possible points to give the Americans a massive 9-3 lead.
With momentum swings in nearly every match, the U.S. sustained a rally from the Europeans to put more red on the board. Here’s how each of the morning matches played out Saturday at the 43rd Ryder Cup, where the Americans show no sign of slowing down:
TOTAL SCORE: U.S. 9, Europe 3
Saturday Morning Foursomes: U.S. 3, Europe 1
Match 9: Jon Rahm/Sergio Garcia (Europe) def. Brooks Koepka/Daniel Berger (US), 3 and 1
After sitting the afternoon Four-Ball matches, Captain Stricker called on Koepka and Berger to bat leadoff. From the start, the U.S. pairing looked more composed, playing stress-free golf while their counterparts from Europe struggled. The Americans won each of the first three holes, putting European aspirations of a fast start on hold.
But with Berger leaking oil, the Spanish duo clawed their way back, shrinking the U.S. lead to 1 up after eight holes. A chip-in birdie from Garcia on No. 9 silenced the home crowd and drew the two sides even.
Trading birdies on the short par-4 10th, an instant classic was brewing on the back nine of Whistling Straits. A missed opportunity for the Americans on the par-4 11th was followed up with a European birdie on the par-3 12th to give the Europeans their first lead of the day.
Still holding a thin lead on the 16th, Garcia delivered the shot of the match with his second to the par-5 that settled within 5 feet for a conceded eagle. The Spaniards wrapped up the match with a par on the next hole, giving the Europeans a much- needed point and allowing Garcia to pass Nick Faldo for the most match victories (24) in Ryder Cup history.
The good news is that Rahm and Garcia remain undefeated in Foursomes. The bad news is that they’re still the only European duo to win a full point this week.
Match 10: Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa (US) def. Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton (Europe), 2 and 1
Arriving to the first tee with smiles as wide as the eye can see, Johnson and Morikawa’s cool and calm demeanor translated to early success. Set up by clever pitch shots from Johnson, including a chip-in birdie on the par-3 third, the second American team out on the golf course followed in the footsteps of the first.
Commanding a 3-up lead and leaving Casey and Hatton in disarray, the youngest and oldest members of the U.S. Team were in complete control. Stretching the advantage to 4 up by the time the two teams were on the back-nine, a stress-free
victory was in the making for the U.S. side.
However, the Europeans would have none of that as bogeys from the Americans on the par-4 11th and par-4 13th meant the lead was cut in half. Then Casey entered the conversation, holing his approach shot on the par-4 14th, shades of his ace from the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club, to cut the U.S. advantage to 1 up.
With both teams facing short par attempts on the par-4 15th, Hatton’s effort caught plenty of the hole, but not enough. Johnson would follow up, securing the par for the Americans and a 2-up lead in the process.
When Morikawa’s tee shot on the par-3 17th found the putting surface, the U.S. could taste their first point of the third session. While Casey answered the call, giving Hatton a great opportunity to extend the match, Europe’s birdie effort missed low. It set the stage for Morikawa to clean up for par and keep his and Johnson’s undefeated records intact.
Match 11: Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas (US) def. Bernd Wiesberger/Viktor Hovland (Europe), 2 up
The Europeans got off to a hot start in this one, winning the first hole which has been dominated by the U.S. all week and eventually building a 3-up lead after just six holes. But an unlikely victory on the par-3 seventh turned things around for the Americans, who were suddenly 2 down after staring a 4-down deficit in the face.
A short miss from Hovland on No. 9 drew the Americans even closer at the turn, and it would only take one more hole for the Americans to draw even as a lengthy birdie putt from Spieth found the bottom of the cup.
Greenside bunker issues for the Americans on No. 11 put the Europeans out in front again, but Spieth and Thomas tied the match three holes later thanks to a poor approach from Wiesberger. Another European bogey on No. 15 gave the U.S. duo their first lead of the match, and one that they would not relinquish.
The Americans eagled No. 16 but found some trouble around the green on the 17th, handing the Europeans the hole and ensuring this match went the distance. But when Wiesberger’s approach found the water on the 18th, the U.S. captured their second point of the session and Spieth’s first of the 43rd Ryder Cup – ensuring all 12 American Team members have contributed to the point total this week.
Match 12: Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele (US) def. Lee Westwood/Matt Fitzpatrick (Europe), 2 and 1
It was always going to be difficult to follow up their Foursomes' performance from yesterday, as Cantlay and Schauffele found themselves in an early tussle. A 1-up advantage for Westwood and Fitzpatrick signaled the first time the U.S. duo had trailed all week – and the first time the Englishmen had led in a match.
That edge would be short-lived, as a long birdie conversion from the blade of Schauffele on the par-3 seventh tied the match. Clutch putts from Cantlay on the following three holes flipped the momentum and pushed the Americans to a 2-up
A kick-in birdie on the par-4 15th extended the U.S. lead to 3 up. Westwood kept his side in the match with a birdie on No. 16, but he missed the green on the par-3 17th to all but ensure an American point. Cantlay closed things out a few minutes later, connecting on his second Foursomes victory of the week alongside Schauffele.