Ryder Cup recaps: U.S. takes foursomes punches, still posts another 3-1 session for 9-3 lead

·10 min read

Down 6-2 on a chilly Saturday morning at Whistling Straits, Team Europe needed a hot start to the day's opening session.

Instead, it was the Americans, yet again, jumping on the visitors early.

The U.S. won the first five holes played between the first two foursomes matches before Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger, playing Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the third match out, won the first hole. That did little, though, to ignite the Europeans.

Harrington's side still fought hard, leading three of the matches at one point. Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia overcame a 3-down deficit through three holes to beat Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka, but that was about the only thing that ultimately went right for the guests. Hovland and Wiesberger surrendered a 3-up lead of their own and fell on the 18th hole. Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton got down big to Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, and even a back-nine rally wasn't good enough.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay put the finishing touches on a third straight 3-1 session victory for the Americans, who enter Friday afternoon's fourballs leading, 9-3. Already, all 12 Americans have earned at least a half-point.

"Message to the guys was just to come out fresh today, pretend yesterday never happened and let's put our foot down and do the same like we did yesterday," U.S. captain Steve Stricker said. "Just keep building on that lead. Just keep trying to increase that lead. We got them down a little bit, and our goal is to continue that and continue that momentum. And our guys are fired up still."

Conversely, Rahm and Garcia are the only Europeans with more than a half-point, and seven Euros have yet to earn anything.

Here's everything that happened in Saturday morning's foursomes, match by match:

Highlights: Rahm/Garcia rally past Koepka/Berger

Jon Rahm/Sergio Garcia (Europe) def. Brooks Koepka/Daniel Berger (U.S.), 3 and 1

If there was any doubt that Rahm wasn't Team Europe's best player, he silenced it Saturday morning.

The world No. 1 and Garcia, winners in Friday morning's foursomes, got 3 down through three holes to Berger and Koepka, but rallied for their second victory together.

Berger curled in a short putt at No. 1 for a 1-up lead. He then hit a nice second shot onto the green and the U.S. went 2 up after the two-putt birdie. Garcia hooked his tee ball at No. 3 and Koepka lagged the birdie roll close for 3-up lead. Two holes later, after Europe won the fourth with par, Rahm hooked Europe’s second shot at the par-5 fifth into Lake Michigan, and the Euros would later concede the hole to drop back to 3 down.

"We both were aware at some point we were going to get a break and they weren't," Rahm said. "At some point we were going to have our opportunity, we just had to take advantage of it."

They did. Garcia rebounded at the sixth, hitting a lovely wedge to 9 feet to set up Rahm for the winning birdie putt. He then missed left again, off the tee at the par-3 seventh, and later missed a bogey putt, but Berger bailed him out after failing to sink a 6-footer for par.

After a shaky start, Garcia quickly morphed into top Ryder Cup form. He sunk a 12-footer for par to win the eighth hole and then knotted the match back up by chipping in for birdie at the ninth. Koepka stopped the swing at No. 10, matching a European birdie by making a 16-footer of his own to tie the hole. He then hit a great approach from the rough to 7 feet at No. 11 to help secure a matching par.

But the Spaniards found some more magic, as Rahm hit his tee ball at the par-3 12th to 7 feet and Garcia finished the birdie job to give their side its first lead of this match, 1 up. A hole later, Koepka missed a shortie for par and suddenly the Americans were 2 down with five to play.

Rahm gave one back after skulling a chip over the green at No. 14. On the next hole, Berger drove it into a nasty lie in the rough, near a bush and drainage channel. After pleading with two rules officials for relief, Koepka hacked it out to 30 feet and then saved par to tie the hole.

Brooks Koepka unhappy with 15th hole official ball ruling

Asked later about the ruling, Koepka said, tersely: "Yeah, we didn't get it."

The lengthy rules discussion didn't seem to help the Americans moving forward, as Koepka yanked a drive into a bunker and the U.S. made a mess of the par-5 16th, while Garcia struck a beauty of a second shot from 244 yards to 5 feet and was later conceded the winning eagle.

A hole later, Berger missed the par-3 17th green right and the Americans couldn't save par, and the Euros took the hole and the match with par, as Rahm moved to 2-0-1 this week and Garcia improved to 2-0.

Highlights: DJ/Morikawa stay hot vs. Casey/Hatton

Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa (U.S.) def. Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton (Europe), 2 and 1

On the heels of their seven-birdie foursomes win on Friday, Johnson and Morikawa stayed undefeated together after starting strong – 3 up through three, and 4 up through eight – before holding on.

Morikawa tapped in a short birdie after a deft pitch by Johnson for the opening-hole win. Morikawa rolled in another birdie at the par-5 second before Johnson chipped in at No. 3 for a three-birdie, 3-up start.

The Euros would get one back at No. 4, but Hatton shanked his side's second shot at the par-5 fifth into a bush and Casey had to take an unplayable. A missed par putt by Hatton handed another hole to the Americans, who went back up, 3 up. However, Hatton redeemed himself by sinking a 6-footer for birdie at the sixth to get back to 2 down.

A poor tee shot by Casey at the par-3 seventh resulted in another European bogey, and Morikawa won the hole with a 6-foot par save. Casey then turned a fanned drive by Hatton at the eighth into a second shot into the penalty area, and that hole was quickly conceded to give the Americans a 4-up lead.

But just when it looked over, the Europeans won Nos. 11, 13 and 14, the latter coming on a Casey hole-out eagle from 105 yards. A horseshoe par miss by Hatton at No. 15, though, all but ended the threat, as the Americans went back to 2 up.

"We weren't going anything crazy," Morikawa said. "We were just trying to hit smart shots."

The U.S. duo finished with six birdies, though just one after the eighth hole, but put away the Europeans with a stress-free par at No. 17.

Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth (U.S.) def. Viktor Hovland/Bernd Wiesberger (Europe), 2 up

The Americans' best pairing from 2018 looked to be headed for an 0-2 start this this Ryder Cup, but despite another average performance (two birdies, one eagle before an early concession on the last), the U.S. duo somehow pulled this one off.

After the Euros took the first hole with a short birdie make by Wiesberger, Thomas canned a 13-footer on top of Wiesberger’s 15-foot birdie make to tie the second hole. However, he’d yank his tee shot at the par-3 third into the rough and Spieth couldn’t pull off another tough flop. The Euros won the hole with par to go 2 up.

Three holes later, Hovland drained a 5-foot birdie to move his side to 3 up in this match after Spieth couldn't convert from 15 feet. However, a costly three-putt at No. 7 opened the door for the Americans, who got up and down for par, capped by a 12-foot make by Thomas, who, like he did numerous times a day prior, got animated in an attempt to pump the crowd – and he and Spieth – up.

Thomas continued to look for motivation. After he made a 4-footer for par to tie the eighth hole, he held his putter down to show the Euros that it should've been a gimme. A hole later, Spieth got relief from an ant mound and then laid up before Thomas chipped to 6 feet. Spieth made the putt for par while Hovland missed from 5 feet to surrender another hole and fall back to just 1 up.

Spieth then tied it up by jarring a 26-foot birdie at No. 10.

The par-4 11th hole was conceded by the U.S. after Thomas and Spieth each failed to extract their ball from a greenside bunker. But three holes later, Wiesberger missed a 15-footer for par, and the match was again tied with four holes to play.

At the par-4 15th, Hovland missed from 8 feet for par as the Euros fell behind for the first time, 1 down. Thomas then delivered the shot of the match, stuffing one to 8 feet from 240 yards and setting up a Spieth eagle make to make the match dormie for the U.S., 2 up with two holes left.

"There was a lot of great moments," Thomas said. "There was a really, really big turn on 16, only being 1 up and then Bernd making that putt and Jordan burying it on top of him."

Some U.S. gardening left of the 17th green sent the match to No. 18, but Wiesberger hit a terrible approach into the creek short and left, which ended the threat of a tie.

Spieth and Thomas are now 4-2 together in team play at the Ryder Cup.

Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) def. Lee Westwood/Matt Fitzpatrick (Europe), 2 and 1

The Americans got on the board first as Cantlay hit a nice 3-wood onto the green at the par-5 second and then sunk a 5-footer for birdie to win the hole. But the Euros won Nos. 3 and 5 to take back the lead.

Schauffele got the match back to all square by canning a 30-footer for birdie at the par-3 seventh, and then Cantlay drained a 25-footer for birdie at the par-4 ninth to give them the 1-up lead at the turn.

Pars were good enough to give the U.S. wins at Nos. 10 and 11 – and a 3-up lead – before the Euros were conceded birdie after a tight Fitzpatrick tee ball at No. 12. Schauffele got it back three holes later, wedging to 2 feet to set up birdie at No. 15 as the Americans went dormie.

Westwood drained an 18-footer for birdie at the par-5 16th to keep the half-point alive. But a hole later, it was over.