Team Europe will enter Sunday’s singles with a 10-6 lead after a 2-2 tie in afternoon foursomes Saturday at the Ryder Cup.
Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood downed Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau as they each moved to 4-0 this week. On the other side, Americans Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas went to 3-1 as a team after beating Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.
Should the U.S. comeback to at least retain the Cup, it would tie the largest comeback in event history. It also happened in 1999 when the U.S. won in Brookline and 2012 when Europe won at Medinah.
Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson (Europe) def.
Brooks Koepka/Dustin Johnson, 2 and 1
The Bash Brothers put up a fight, but they ended up being no match for the Ice Man and Rosey. Johnson and Koepka took the first hole with par, but they wouldn’t win another hole until the 12th as the Europeans made clutch putt after clutch putt. With the Europeans leading 2 up after winning No. 10 with par, Rose save par from 5 feet to halve No. 11. Two holes later, Rose drained a 10-footer for birdie to retake a 2-up lead. Stenson then made huge putts on Nos. 16 and 17, the latter from 12 feet for par to win the hole and seal the match. Rose and Stenson finish the week 2-0 in foursomes together.
Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson (U.S.) def.
Sergio Garcia/Alex Noren, 3 and 2
With many questioning Watson’s inclusion in this session and Garcia coming off a big four-ball win alongside Rory McIlroy, the American duo were underdogs in this one. They played like anything but, making five birdies on the front nine to take a 4-up lead. OK, so there was the triple-bogey halve at the par-3 second after Watson and Simpson each found water from the tee, but an eagle at the par-5 14th made up for it was Simpson hit his second shot to about 5 feet to earn the concession. Team Europe pulled to 3 down after an American three-putt bogey at the par-4 15th, but Simpson drained a 20-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th to clinch the match.
Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood (Europe) def.
Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed, 5 and 4
We now have the first European pair to go 4-0 as a team in a single Ryder Cup. Molinari and Fleetwood defeat a team including Woods for the third time this Cup, and this was the worst beatdown yet. This match never really seemed in doubt. DeChambeau lipped out a 20-footer for birdie at the first and Molinari drained his 7-footer to win the opening hole. Molinari left the door open when he hit his tee shot in the water at the par-5 third. But DeChambeau followed him into the water off the tee. Fleetwood would make an 8-foot par putt to win the hole and go 2 up. The lead would mushroom to 5 up by the turn as they won Nos. 6, 8 and 9. Woods and DeChambeau made a brief charge, as a pair of fine iron shots from DeChambeau and mid-range birdie putts from Woods meant back-to-back birdies at Nos. 10 and 11 and their deficit was now 3 down. But Fleetwood finished off a birdie at the 12th to move this back to 4 up. Two holes later, Molinari rolled in a 7-footer for birdie to win the hole and the match. Fleetwood and Molinari make history with this one, especially cool with Fleetwood being a rookie. Woods’ Ryder Cup woes continue, as he falls to 0-3 in this Cup.
Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth (U.S.) def.
Ian Poulter/Rory McIlroy, 4 and 3
If the U.S. goes on to pull an incredible comeback, it couldn’t have happened without this American duo. Poulter and McIlroy actually won the first two holes of this match with pars, but Thomas and Spieth then steamrolled. McIlroy went OB off the tee at the fourth on the way to triple bogey, leading the Europeans to falling to 1 up. Spieth then ran in a 25-footer for birdie at the fifth to square the match. The Europeans three-putted from 30 feet for bogey at the sixth and suddenly had lost three straight holes and had fallen to 1 down. Another short par miss at the eighth put them 2 down. Thomas gifted the Euros when he missed a 3-footer for birdie at the ninth to go 3 up, but two holes later he drained a 20-footer for birdie to move it to that margin anyway. Spieth then knocked in a 15-footer at No. 13 to go 4 up. They closed out with a birdie and halve two holes later, as Spieth drained a 10-footer and then did a Poulter chest pound. This duo has now gone 3-1 in this Ryder Cup and prevented a second straight European session sweep Saturday morning with a high-level 2-and-1 win. This afternoon victory puts the score at 10-6, Europe. Yes, the home team is well in command. But that margin is not insurmountable, as it’s been done before.