U.S. storms back in Saturday fourball, holds commanding Ryder Cup lead
As any American Ryder Cup fan will tell you, nothing is promised in matchplay. And on Saturday afternoon, the Europeans showed the first glimmer of why.
We’re officially past the halfway point at the Ryder Cup, and the United States remains in posession of a commanding lead. But the Euros are starting to show signs of life — enough to strike a twinge of fear in the heart of every American golf fan with a lengthy memory.
The recovery began for team Europe during Saturday afternoon’s fourball matches, in which the Americans and Europeans split the session. Heading into Sunday, the scoreboard sits at 11 to 5. (Of potential interest to those watching at home, the largest Sunday deficit overcome in Ryder Cup history is four points, a record belonging to the Miracle at Medinah in 2016.)
Below, find everything you need to know about each of the four afternoon matches.
Match 1: Shane Lowry/Tyrrell Hatton def. Tony Finau/Harris English, 1 up
Credit Lowry and Hatton for their start, which put the high-flying tandem of Finau/Harris immediately on their heels. Lowry in particular ignited his duo on Saturday, draining a few long putts and generally displaying a firebrand intensity that carried the pair throughout the match.
Finau was brilliant on Friday, making six birdies en route to a dominant victory in his afternoon fourball session. On Saturday, he came back to earth some, allowing Lowry/Hatton to nab a 2 up lead on the front.
Finau put pressure on the Europeans down the stretch, draining a clutch par putt on the 16th and sticking his approach on the 17th, but it wasn’t enough to unseat Lowry, who deposited a dramatic 10-footer to seal the match on the 18th, and delivered a celebration to match it.
Match 2: Sergio Garcia/Jon Rahm def. Brooks Koepka/Jordan Spieth, 2&1
Garcia and Rahm have been European anchors through the first two days at the Ryder Cup, and that much didn’t change during Saturday’s fourball matches. Rahm and Garcia moved to 3-0-1 on the week against Koepka and Spieth, who brought birdies in a flurry but struggled to string together consistency throughout the round.
Match 3: Scottie Scheffler/Bryson DeChambeau def. Tommy Fleetwood/Viktor Hovland, 3&1
Bryson and Scottie once again brought boatloads of big-swinging energy to Whistling Straits on Saturday, and once again, they struggled to close out a victory. DeChambeau and Scheffler squandered leads to Fleetwood and Hovland twice during Saturday’s proceedings, but it was the 25-year-old rookie who played the hero.
Scheffler drained a MONSTER birdie putt on the 15th to push the Americans ahead in their match, paving the way for a crucial 11th point on Saturday afternoon. His celebration was the stuff of Ryder Cup legend — an uppercut that, in one sweeping motion, might have justified Steve Stricker’s decision to include him on the team. With the victory, Scheffler and DeChambeau moved to 1-0-1 on the week.
Match 4: Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa def. Ian Poulter/Rory McIlroy, 4&3
The story of the week for both pairings continued in the final match on Saturday afternoon. Johnson and Morikawa were once again stellar, grabbing an early lead and never looking back en route to the U.S.’s only easy victory of the fourth session. For Poulter and McIlroy, the struggles continued — falling 3 down at the turn and struggling to mount any sort of comeback, spare for a few picturesque wedges.