Europe Lead After First Foursomes Whitewash Over US
Europe lead the USA after day one of The Ryder Cup after a stirring fightback saw them turn a 3-1 deficit into 5-3 advantage in Paris.
It was Europe’s first ever whitewash over the US in foursomes, and it stunned the visiting side.
The morning had belonged to America, but a subdued home crowd didn’t have long to wait for the comeback to begin – and when it came, Team USA, were completely out of sorts.
Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose led the charge, and by the time their opening duel approached the turn, Europe were ahead in every match, with Ian Poutler and Rory McIlroy overturning a two-hole deficit to take the lead on the 9th.
No-one was more impressive than Rose, who overcame the disappointment of a last-hole defeat in the morning to successfully team up with Stenson.
Their opponents, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler looked flat and were three-over-par by the time Rose and Stenson finished the job on the 15th for a 3&2 victory, Europe’s first point of the afternoon.
McIlroy had struggled in his opening match, which led to suggestions he should have sat the afternoon out – but the four-time Major winner looked a different animal alongside a fresh, chest-thumping Poulter.
Although still not firing on all cylinders, one of the shots of the day belonged to the Northern Irishman when, with an awkward stance, he hacked out of heavy rough by the water on the 13th to set his partner up for a birdie.
It marked an impressive turnaround, after Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson had grabbed a 2UP lead after just three holes. However, the turning point came on the par-4 6th, where a birdie marked a run of four straight winning holes for McIlroy and Poulter – and the Europeans ran out 4&2 winners.
Any doubts European captain, Thomas Bjorn may have had over Sergio Garcia’s selection in the side would have vanished after his blistering start alongside Alex Noren, the pair surging into a 6UP lead after eight holes against a woeful Phil Mickelson and shell-shocked Bryson DeChambeau.The putts that were dropping for the USA in the morning started staying out, as the Europeans kept their foot on the throttle, coping far better as the breeze picked up.
Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari were on top form once again in dispatching golden boys Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
And the whitewash was complete when Spieth missed from short range on the 14th, leaving Molinari the stage to sweep up for a crushing 5&4 victory.
As good as Bjorn’s men were, the US side were awful in the afternoon, at one stage slumping to a cumulative 13-over par.
Ryder Cup veteran, Mickelson was one of those suffering, his left-and-right issues exacerbated by the wind that swirled around Le Golf National, and DeChambeau faired little better.
Few would have predicted such an afternoon, and it gives every one of Furyk’s players a lot to think about overnight, especially given their positive start.
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Only an inspired performance from Open champion Molinari and Fleetwood, against the much-fancied pairing of Tiger Woods and ‘Captain America’ Patrick Reed, denied the Americans a clean sweep in the morning’s fourballs.
A session later and Furyk’s side have a real battle on their hands if they are to win The Ryder Cup on European soil for the first time since 1993.