Europe Stretch Lead Over Struggling Americans

How Saturday morning's fourballs unfolded in Paris

Europe stretch lead
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Europeans won the morning session 3-1 to go into an 8-4 lead at halfway through the Saturday

Europe Stretch Lead Over Struggling Americans

Europe continue to dominate America in  the Ryder Cup in Paris after a commanding performance in the fourballs stretched their advantage to 8-4.

Their were wins for Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy (2&1), Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton (3&2), Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood (4&3), whilst Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas grabbed a much-needed point for America.

On a morning when the Americans needed a fast start, it was a 'burnt orange' Team Europe that exploded from the blocks - and it wasn't long before the board was all blue once again. By the time each of the four matches had reached the turn, USA had won just five holes, compared to Europe's haul of 12.

Ryder Cup Point

Yesterday, Europe completed a first clean sweep of one session since 1989, and their first foursomes whitewash in the history of the contest (opens in new tab). That came on the back of what was a positive start for the Americans, when they built a 3-1 lead in the opening fourballs.

But on Saturday morning, Jim Furyk's men were found wanting once again. In the top match, Garcia continued his fine form, and alongside McIlroy the pair surged into a 4UP lead after just eight holes against Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka.

Europe Stretch Lead

Europe stretch lead: Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia survived a fight back from Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka [Getty Images]

That advantage was reduced to two with back-to-back US wins at the 14th and 15th, before Finau made it one with a birdie at the par-3 16th - a hole he has fond memories of following his huge break yesterday bouncing off the sleepers.

However, Garcia put an emphatic end to the comeback on the par-4 17th when he drained a 30-footer for birdie, and after Koepka missed his effort to extend the match moments later, Europe had their first point of the day on the board.

Europe Stretch Lead Further

In Match 2, a lively Casey and Hatton were busy keeping a lid on the world number one, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, and reached the turn with a 3UP advantage.

Like many of their teammates, the US duo struggled to find fairways, with a Johnson chip-in on 15 one of few standout moments. It extended the match, before the inevitable happened one hole later with the English pairing delivering a 3&2 victory.

Patrick Reed partnered with Tiger Woods once again, despite the pair going down 3&1 to Fleetwood and Molinari in the opening fourballs.

Given the chance to exact revenge, the American duo were outclassed for the second day running. Whilst Reed was erratic, a subdued Woods was unable to stamp any authority against what has become Europe's standout pairing.

After the Europeans raced into a 2UP lead, Woods and Reed put up a brief fight to level the match through ten holes, but the Bjorn's golden pairing strung three winning holes together from the 11th, as Molinari's putter caught fire.

The pressure was relentless and with Reed making frequent visits to the water and Woods looking tired, the games was up when the 14-time Major winner drifted a putt wide on the 15th.

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Furyk has much to ponder. Aside from the wayward shots and missed putts, at times the body language from many of his players hinted at a lack of fight.

Two players to emerge with plenty of credit, however, were Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. In a nip-and-tuck match against Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm, Thomas was up for the fight and in sparkling form, playing the difficult par-4 17th perfectly to earn a birdie and a crucial point for the States.

Michael Weston

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.