U.S. staves off European charge to lead 11-5
September 25, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- September 25, 2021
- Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau proved a formidable team in the afternoon session. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
SATURDAY AFTERNOON FOUR-BALL
After winning each of the first three sessions by a 3-1 margin, the United States fell behind early Saturday afternoon and lost the first two matches. Wins in the final two matches, however, gave the home team an 11-5 lead entering Sunday’s 12 singles matches. It is the United States' largest lead entering singles against Europe and their biggest in the Ryder Cup since 1975. The six-point lead ties the modern record Europe set in 2004 at Oakland Hills in a record rout.
That final win, where Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler overcame a late deficit, may have put the Ryder Cup out of reach. Twice have teams come back from a 10-6 deficit – the U.S. did it at home in 1999 and Europe pulled it off nine years ago and just 150 miles away from Whistling Straits.
The United States can’t celebrate yet. But it can take solace from its six-point lead.
“We've got one heck of a healthy lead,” said Tony Finau. “We've got 12 hungry guys to get this thing done tomorrow. They have a really tall task in front of them, a score that's never been overcome.”
Read more about how the United States stayed in command of the competition at Whistling Straits.
MATCH 2: Shane Lowry/Tyrrell Hatton, EUR, def. Tony Finau/Harris English, 1 up
Whistling Straits was built to mimic the links of Ireland. Perhaps Lowry, the 2019 Open Champion who hails from that country, felt at home. He put on a masterful performance to earn Europe’s first point of the session. Lowry had to lay up after driving into a fairway bunker on the par-4 18th, but he hit his 149-yard third shot to 11 feet and holed the par putt to give Europe a crucial win. That par will be remembered but it was Lowry’s birdies earlier in the match that gave his team the lead. The Europeans were 1 up at the turn thanks in large part to Lowry’s strong play. His birdie on the par-3 third hole was the lone won hole on the front nine. Lowry made five birdies in the first 10 holes, and Hatton added one at the 11th, to give the Europeans a 2-up lead. Europe won just two holes in this match but it was enough as the United States won just one hole.
Quotes: "I felt like it was a great opportunity to do something. When you're in a great frame of mind, that's the stuff you think about when you're over putts like that. It was great fun." -- Shane Lowry
Score at end of match: USA 9, Europe 4
MATCH 1: Jon Rahm/Sergio Garcia, EUR, def. Brooks Koepka/Jordan Spieth, 2 and 1
Jon Rahm made back-to-back birdies, including a long putt on 16 that was reminiscent of the putts he holed to win this year’s U.S. Open, to stave off a comeback from the Americans in testy match. The victory improved Rahm and Garcia to 3-0 as a pair this week and gave Rahm a 3-0-1 individual record. The Spaniards were 2-up at the turn, but Koepka holed an 8-foot birdie putt at 10 to pull his team within 1-down. The comeback hit a bit of a stall after Spieth suffered a 360-degree lip-out on 12 but Koepka tied the match with a 9-foot birdie putt on the next hole. Spieth missed a 9-foot birdie birdie putt on 15, opening the door for Rahm to hole his from 7 feet to regain the lead. This win gave the Europeans victories in the first two matches of the session as it tried to mount a comeback from its 9-3 deficit.
Score at end of match: USA 9, Europe 5
MATCH 4: Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa, USA, def. Ian Poulter/Rory McIlroy, 4 and 3
The United States had lost its first two matches of the session but this pairing has been solid as a rock, going 3-0 as a team. They only lost one hole, the fifth, in this match and took a 3-up lead after winning Nos. 6-8. Six consecutive tied holes – including birdies by both Morikawa and Poulter on 14 – preceded the match ending on the 15th hole. The loss dropped McIlroy to 0-3 this week. Johnson is the first American to win in each of the first four sessions since Larry Nelson in 1979. Johnson and Morikawa are just the fourth U.S. partnership in the last 40 years to earn three points in a single Ryder Cup, joining Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus (1981), Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson (2012) and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas (2018).
Quotes: "Disappointing not to contribute a point for the team yet. So hopefully just go out tomorrow and try my best to get a point, and hopefully we can rally and at last give them something to maybe sweat about tomorrow in the middle of the afternoon." -- Rory McIlroy
"Having DJ, he's an amazing player. I've said it all week, and I'm going to keep saying it, because he really is, he's a great guy and he really made these first two days a little easier on me." -- Collin Morikawa
Score at end of match: USA 10, Europe 5
MATCH 3: Scottie Scheffler/Bryson DeChambeau, USA, def. Tommy Fleetwood/Viktor Hovland, 3 and 1
This match, the final one to finish Saturday, kept Europe from pulling within 10-6, a deficit it has overcome before. The Europeans were 1 up through 13 but the U.S. responded with three consecutive wins to flip things around. DeChambeau holed a 7-foot birdie putt on 14 to tie the match. Scheffler birdied the next two holes. Hovland has moved to 0-3-1 in his Ryder Cup debut. This is Fleetwood's first loss in six Ryder Cup team matches.
Quotes: "Bryson flipped the match twice today, he made a great putt on and 8. They won 9, and I had a great chip on 10, and Bryson rolled in a putt before Viktor could make his and just a massive putt on 14." -- Scottie Scheffler
Score at end of match: USA 11, Europe 5
SATURDAY MORNING FOURSOMES
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Facing a 6-2 deficit coming into Saturday’s play Padraig Harrington’s European team was looking to stop the bleeding and begin an attempted comeback while Steve Stricker’s Americans were hoping to show no mercy and increase a lead.
Unfortunately for Europe, it was the latter.
Despite an incredible comeback by the Spanish duo of world No.1 Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia in the opening match, the 43rd Ryder Cup is trending towards a rout after the third consecutive 3-1 session win lifted the U.S. team to what must be considered an insurmountable 9-3 lead.
Since continental Europe was added to the Cup in 1979 the U.S. has never held such a dominant lead through three sessions and the new guard is well and truly on their way. With eight players under 30 and six Ryder Cup rookies the U.S. is sending a devastating message.
Stricker expects there to be no let up in the afternoon session.
"The plan is just keep building on that lead. Just keep trying to increase that lead. We got them down a little bit, and our goal is to continue that and continue that momentum," Stricker said.
"And our guys are fired up still. They're excited. They're fired up to get out here. The crowd is unbelievable. We've got a great day, a little chill in the air, and it's all good."
Match 1: Jon Rahm/Sergio Garcia, EUR, def. Brooks Koepka/Daniel Berger USA, 3 and 1
Recap: An incredible lead off match where the Spanish resistance dropped the first three holes and things looked more than bleak for the European team in general before an incredible turnaround. Rahm and Garcia lifted their game exponentially and secured the sixth and eighth holes before Garcia chipped in expertly on the ninth to flip the script completely. The hole out came with the U.S. looking at a birdie putt, that Berger subsequently missed, and it was tied at the turn. A lovely wedge into the par-3 12th from Rahm set up a 7-foot birdie for Garcia and the Europeans grabbed a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. They doubled it at the 13th but the lead was just one soon after. A contentious ruling on the 15th hole went against the Americans before Rahm and Garcia produced two incredible shots on the par-5 16th that resulted in a conceded eagle and capped off an incredible comeback win.
Quotes: "We are not giving up. We're going to fight until the end as hard as we can. Hopefully we have a good afternoon this afternoon and see what happens." -- Sergio Garcia
"They got off to a bad start but probably 7 through 13 probably killed us. They chip-in on 9. We three-putt 7. Just one of those things, they played really well." -- Brooks Koepka
Score at match’s conclusion: USA 6, EUR 3
Match 2: Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa, USA, def. Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton, EUR, 2 and 1
Recap: The Johnson/Morikawa duo stayed undefeated as a unit but they were made to work for it despite a dominant start. The first three holes all went the way of the U.S. team with birdies and by the turn they were 4 up. From there all Europe could seemingly do was try to delay the inevitable but the Englishmen refused to lay down and they won the par-5 11th and then the 13th and 14th holes to add some hope of a sensational comeback. But they couldn’t maintain their intensity and a bogey at the 15th hole proved critical in the final wash up.
Quotes: "For me, just drive him in the fairway, and I know I'm going to have a nice look at birdie." -- Dustin Johnson
Score at match’s conclusion: USA 7, EUR 3
MATCH 3: Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth, USA, def. Viktor Hovland/Bernd Wiesberger, EUR, 2 up
Recap: This one went to 18 but it was an unceremonious end after Wiesberger hit his approach to 18 into the water to sink Europe’s chances. This match will be remembered for Thomas’ approach to the 16th hole. With his team leading 1-up, Thomas hit his 243-yard second shot to 4 feet for an eagle that gave the U.S. Team a 2-up lead with two to play. The U.S. lost the next hole but escaped with the win. It was redemption for the team of Spieth and Thomas, who lost Friday and trailed for much of Saturday’s match. The European rookies were 3-up after six holes before the American pair won three holes in a four-hole stretch around the turn. The U.S. took its first lead of the match with a par on 15. Hovland and Wiesberger are now a combined 0-4-1 in their first Ryder Cup, with the highly-touted Hovland dropping to 0-2-1.
Score at match’s conclusion: USA 8, EUR 3
MATCH 4: Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele USA def. Matt Fitzpatrick-Lee Westwood, EUR, 2 and 1
Recap: The gold medalist and FedExCup champion are undefeated in their Ryder Cup debuts. The Southern California duo, that was born at the Presidents Cup two years ago, rolled to another Foursomes victory at Whistling Straits after winning, 5 and 3, on Friday. The Englishmen, on the other hand, have lost both of their Foursomes matches this week, with Fitzpatrick dropping to 0-4 in his Ryder Cup career. Europe held a 1-up lead after six holes but the United States won Nos. 9-11 to go 3 up. Fitzpatrick and Westwood never pulled any closer than a two-hole deficit. Schauffele is now 3-0 this week, whole Cantlay is 2-0-1.
Score at match’s conclusion: USA 9, EUR 3