U.S. storms out to early Ryder Cup lead after Friday morning matches
And we’re off! Friday morning at the Ryder Cup was nothing if not action-packed. Both sides seesawed throughout the morning at Whistling Straits, trading huge putts and tremendous shots in a perfect scene-setter for what’s soon to come.
Through the first of five sessions, the Americans lead 3 to 1. Before both sides head out for the afternoon fourball sessions, find everything you need to know about each of the morning’s four matches below.
Match 1: Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia def. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, 3 and 1
The Spaniards are going to be a dangerous tandem for the Europeans. Rahm and Garcia were lethal around the greens all afternoon, rolling more than 100 feet of birdie makes to dispose of U.S.’s heavyweight Spieth/Thomas pairing. This despite a weaker-than-expected performance from tee-to-green for two of team Europe’s best ballstrikers.
Match 2: Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa def. Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland, 3 and 2
A battle of rookie/vet pairings, Johnson and Morikawa took it to Casey and Hovland in their morning foursomes match, claiming a relatively painless 3-and-2 win. Perhaps the most consequential takeaway was that both Johnson and Morikawa appeared refreshed and dialed-in — a massive sign for the Americans, who will need their highest-ranked pairing to do some heavy lifting against the Europeans.
Match 3: Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger def. Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, 2 and 1
Perhaps the only eye-opening American pairing from captain Steve Stricker (primarily in that it left Bryson DeChambeau on the bench in favor of Berger, a Ryder Cup rookie), Koepka/Berger made a formidable tandem on Friday morning. The former Florida State teammates and longtime friends ham-and-egged all afternoon, managing to avoid trouble through the majority of a worry-free, 2-and-1 win. On the other side, Fitzpatrick struggled to find his comfort zone for much of the morning, relying heavily on Westwood to keep the pairing in it.
Match 4: Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay def. Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, 5 and 3
The last match to go out, but the first one to give the Americans a serious advantage during session 1. Schauffele and Cantlay pounced on McIlroy/Poulter right from the first tee, grabbing a 5-up lead after five holes in their first-ever Ryder Cup start. McIlroy and Poulter wouldn’t go down easily — sparking a brief comeback as they made the turn — but iron play carried the pair to victory, grabbing a 5-and-3 win.