SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – It was the last place many expected the U.S. to gain ground. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson put up four birdies in the first eight holes of foursomes play at Le Golf National to easily handle Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren, 3 and 2. The U.S. split the afternoon foursomes 2-2 to pull within four points overall, trailing Europe 10-6.
In a match that started unbelievably awful – the teams halved with a triple-bogey six on the second hole – turned into a beauty for U.S. captain Jim Furyk.
“To halve on No. 2 was very critical,” cracked Watson.
The American pair dissected Friday’s 4-and-2 foursome loss to Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy and took heart.
“When we set back and looked at it,” said Watson, “and you tell yourself you’re not playing bad golf, and we didn’t, and we look at the stretch yesterday, we missed a putt on 8, 9, 10 was rough, and then on 13, that shot that McIlroy hit, that’s got the be the shot of the year. … So I didn’t see that we did anything wrong, I just think they made the putts.”
Watson and Simpson switched up their batting order on Day 2, with Simpson making his share of critical putts.
“We got a lot of work to do,” said Simpson of Sunday’s task, “but we still got a chance.”
Meanwhile Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth overcame an early two-hole deficit in foursomes to secure their second point of the day. The former Junior Ryder Cup teammates kept the U.S. within miracle reach with one gutsy move after another.
Thomas and Spieth birdied four of the last five holes to dust McIlroy and Poulter, 4 and 3.
“We basically just gift-wrapped and handed it to them on the first two holes,” said Thomas, a Ryder Cup rookie. “I don’t know what it was, or the way he said it, but walking off two green, Jordan said, ‘Look, if there’s ever a time to be 2-down, you can’t pick a better time than after the second hole.’ I don’t know why that resonated so well with me, but we played some damned good golf after.”