U.S. storms out to early Ryder Cup lead after Friday morning matches

Xander Schauffele starred in a U.S. romp on Friday morning at Whistling Straits.

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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.

Morikawa and Johnson formed a confidence-inspiring tandem for the Americans.

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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.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.