2018 Ryder Cup: Europe dominates Saturday four-balls to take 8-4 lead

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2018 Ryder Cup: Europe dominates Saturday four-balls to take 8-4 lead

2018 Ryder Cup

2018 Ryder Cup: Europe dominates Saturday four-balls to take 8-4 lead

The European onslaught continued Saturday in Paris as Europe added to its Ryder Cup lead with a 3-1 win in the morning four-ball session. They go into Saturday afternoon foursomes leading, 8-4.

Here’s a look back at the morning session:

Sergio Garcia/Rory McIlroy (Europe) def.
Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau (U.S.), 2 and 1

Sergio Garcia continued his Ryder Cup heroics, sinking a 20-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th to clinch the first point of the day for Europe. Prior to that, the Americans had won three straight holes, with Finau making birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. But the European duo of Garcia and McIlroy were just too much. McIlroy made four of his five birdies on the front nine and Garcia made crucial birdie putts to win Nos. 4 and 11. Koepka’s length helped him win Nos. 9 and 14, both par-5s, with birdie, but he also was wild off the tee, losing a tee ball at the par-4 sixth. Still, with the amount of Americans struggling, Koepka gets the nod this afternoon in foursomes with Dustin Johnson while Garcia will re-pair with Alex Noren and McIlroy with Ian Poulter.

Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton (Europe) def.
Rickie Fowler/Dustin Johnson (U.S.), 3 and 2

Paul Casey got off to a blazing start in this match, birdieing five of his first six holes. At that point, Casey had more birdies than every American player combined. The Americans’ start was the opposite as Fowler and Johnson found the water at the first hole, Johnson rinsed his tee ball at the par-3 second and Fowler drove it in the hazard at the par-3 fifth. After Hatton birdied the par-3 eighth, Europe led 3 up and never looked back. Johnson did make a lengthy birdie at the par-3 11th, but Casey won the 14th hole with birdie and a nice Hatton lag to earn a par sealed the deal at the par-3 16th. Casey and Hatton will rest this afternoon while Fowler will, as well. Johnson goes out with Brooks Koepka in foursomes.

Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood (Europe) def. Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed (U.S.), 4 and 3

The dream duo of Molinari and Fleetwood continued. Woods had a 10-footer for birdie to win the first, but it slipped by on the left. After that, the U.S. never had any chance (let alone a good one) to lead this match. Fleetwood drained a long birdie putt at the second to give the Euros the early lead, and they won the next hole to quickly move 2 up. Reed struggled massively all match as wayward drives put him out of sorts. Woods did his best to get the team fighting back, draining a 25-footer for birdie to win the seventh. Reed proceeded to bury a 5-footer for birdie to halve the ninth and then shushed the crowd. Woods stuffed his approach at the 10th and rolled in the 4-footer for birdie to win the hole and square the match. But the Europeans buckled down at that point. Molinari fired his tee shot at the par-3 11th right over the flag, with the ball finishing 4 feet past the cup. He rolled that in for birdie to take a 1-up lead. The mojo continued as Molinari drained a 15-footer at the following hole to extend the lead to 2 up. And the Americans then began falling apart. Reed hit his tee shot at the par-4 13th in the water, and Woods’ approach found the drink as well. That hole ended up being conceded, putting the Americans 3 down. Two holes later, Reed went in the water on his approach and Woods needed to drain a 20-footer for par to halve the hole and extend the match. When it didn’t drop, they had lost 4 and 3. Molinari and Fleetwood moved to 3-0 in this Ryder Cup with this shellacking. Reed is not playing this afternoon for good reason (especially after this morning showing). Woods had his moments in this match but ultimately wasn’t at his best again.

Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Ian Poulter/Jon Rahm (Europe), 2 and 1

This match was high-quality, as the two teams combined for 17 birdies, and potentially one of huge importance. Spieth and Thomas took the advantage early after Spieth fired his tee shot at the par-3 second 4 feet under the flag and cleaned up for birdie to win the hole. But the Europeans won the fourth with a par and Poulter buried a 20-footer for birdie at the seventh to give them a 1-up lead. Spieth came right back, though, by putting another par-3 tee shot 4 feet from the flag. That birdie won the hole and got everything back to All Square. In this high-level back-and-forth affair, the Americans seized control early in the back nine. Spieth buried a 25-footer for birdie to win the 11th and Thomas rolled in a 4-footer at the following hole for back-to-back wins. The Americans were now 2 up. Poulter and Rahm did their best to fight. Rahm stuffed his approach at 13 to 4 feet and won the hole with that birdie. Poulter birdied the par-3 16th, forcing Thomas to make a 5-footer to halve the hole and hold onto a 1-up lead. Thomas was up to the challenge as he got it to drop in the left edge. He then closed out the match by draining an 8-footer for birdie at the 17th to win that hole. Prior to this match, Europe had won eight straight in opening up an 8-3 lead. That makes this win massive for the U.S. hopes of a comeback. Maybe it won’t happen, but it was hard to see any comeback from 9-3 or 8.5-3.5. From 8-4, it’s still a tall task. But it’s not impossible.

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