Skip to main content

Ryder Cup recaps: After fourballs split, U.S. takes 11-5 lead into singles

Getty Images

Team USA began Saturday afternoon's Ryder Cup fourballs session with a 9-3 lead and teammates Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger shotgunning beers on the first tee.

It quickly appeared that maybe that kind of celebration was premature, as Europe led three matches quickly, but the Americans held off an afternoon charge by the Europeans to split the fourth and final team-play session, 2-2. The U.S. will now enter Sunday's 12-match singles session with an 11-5 lead and will need just three-and-a-half points to win back the cup.

"This afternoon session was an important one," U.S. captain Steve Stricker said. "If they blank us, they get right back in the game. Splitting the session was a good outcome for us."

World No. 1 Jon Rahm was his usual dominant self, again teaming with Sergio Garcia to beat Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka. And Shane Lowry turned into Nick Faldo to earn a point alongside Tyrrell Hatton. But the Americans took the final two matches, with Dustin Johnson winning with Morikawa for a third time and moving to 4-0, and Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler rallying late to earn their first full point of each of their Ryder Cup careers.

"Personally, I thought we could have gone 4-0, but getting 2-2 and just staying in the same place, the lead that we have created is huge," DeChambeau said. "We haven't had this good of an opportunity in a long time and hopefully we can get the job done tomorrow. We've got to focus like it's 0-0 again and try to get every point we can."

Here is a match-by-match recap of Saturday afternoon's fourball action at Whistling Straits:

Match scoring for the 43rd Ryder Cup

Shane Lowry/Tyrrell Hatton (Europe) def. Tony Finau/Harris English (U.S.), 1 up

It was the Lowry show early, often and late.

The Irishman, who had played in just one session to this point, got energized early after holing a 25-foot birdie putt to win the third hole. After the ball dropped, Lowry clenched both fists and let out a big yell. That came after he got miffed for having to putt a shortie at the first hole.

He went on to birdie four of his first six holes and play the front nine in 3 under on his own ball. Yet, at the turn the Euros led just 1 up. Lowry then added a 20-foot birdie make at No. 10, but English matched him.

Hatton, birdie-less, stretched the lead to 2 up a hole later by converting a 15-footer for birdie. But Finau cut it in half by holing a 12-footer for birdie at No. 13. English then stuffed one at No. 14, but Hatton answered by ramming a 33-foot birdie putt into the hole to tie the hole. The roles were reversed at the par-5 16th, as Lowry's gimme birdie was matched by Finau from 8 feet.

The Euros led 1 up entering the last hole and looked to be on their way to two bogeys and a half-point, but Lowry stepped up one final time by draining a 10-footer for par to win the match.

Jon Rahm/Sergio Garcia (Europe) def. Brooks Koepka/Jordan Spieth (U.S.), 2 and 1

Rahm moved to 3-0-1 in these matches, 3-0 alongside Garcia, thanks to some incredible clutch putts, including three outside of 25 feet.

The world No. 1 pitched it to gimme range for an opening birdie, but the Euros gave a hole back at the par-5 second, which was won by Spieth’s conceded eagle after he hit his second shot to 17 feet. The world No. 1 then won the third hole for the Spaniards with par before canning a 45-foot birdie putt to win the fourth, giving the visiting side a 2-up advantage.

After an animated argument between Spieth and Rahm's caddie, Adam Hayes, about Rahm's drop from the penalty area, the fifth hole was tied with birdies by Koepka and Garcia.

Spieth, Rahm, caddie get into argument about ball placement

Spieth, Rahm, caddie get into argument about ball placement

Rahm then continued to flex his muscles, getting a 26-footer for birdie at the par-3 seventh to drop and moving Europe to 3 up in this match. But Koepka finally earned his first hole win, sinking a 15-foot birdie at the par-4 eighth to get a hole back. Two holes later, after a Rahm 10-foot birdie miss, Koepka got his 8-footer to drop at No. 10 to move the U.S. to 1 down.

At the par-3 12th, both Euros were in the bunker off the tee, but the hole was tied after Spieth lipped out his 8-foot birdie putt some 380 degrees.

Spieth suffers brutal lip-out on birdie putt

Spieth suffers brutal lip-out on birdie putt

Koepka picked him up at No. 13, though, making birdie from 9 feet to tie the match. After Spieth stuck his approach to 9 feet at No. 15, Rahm answered from 140 yards, wedging to 6 feet. Spieth would miss and Rahm would make, and Rahm's birdie gave Europe a late 1-up lead.

Rahm then clutched up yet again by holing a 30-footer for birdie at the par-5 16th, and Spieth missed from 12 feet, his sixth miss from 12 feet and in on the match, and Europe took a 2-up lead with two to play. They'd close it out on the penultimate hole with an easy Rahm par.

"This afternoon he was unbelievable," Garcia said. "I was No. 1 spectator watching a great guy do great thing after great thing after great thing. It was awesome to be a part of. I was so happy. I was just trying to keep him up and make sure he kept heading in the right direction. You know, it was great to see."

Spieth, Rahm, caddie get into argument about ball placement

Spieth, Rahm, caddie get into argument about ball placement

Scottie Scheffler/Bryson DeChambeau (U.S.) def. Tommy Fleetwood/Viktor Hovland (Europe), 3 and 1

A late rally by DeChambeau and Scheffler earned each of them their first full Ryder Cup point.

This match started with some gimme controversy, too, as DeChambeau laid his putter down after rolling in a short par putt to tie the hole. The Europeans appeared to pay no mind, as two holes later Hovland gave them their first lead by making a 15-footer for birdie at the par-3 third.

DeChambeau didn’t mash one at the par-5 fifth like he did Friday, but his 23-foot birdie make did win the hole and square the match back up. Hovland then three-putted from 18 feet at the par-3 seventh to surrender the 1-up lead to the Americans.

But that didn't last long, as Scheffler whiffed on a 5-footer at No. 8 for par to drop the match back into a tie. Hovland then birdied the par-4 ninth from 6 feet to give the Europeans a 1-up edge. But with Scheffler in tight at No. 10, DeChambeau decided to drop in his 30-footer for birdie to win No. 10 and square the match again.

The Americans each missed the green right at the difficult par-3 12th, and their bogeys handed the hole and a new 1-up lead to Europe. Two holes later, though, DeChambeau rolled in a 7-footer for birdie to again knot the score.

Scheffler's 17-foot birdie make at No. 15 put the U.S. ahead, 1 up, with three to go, and the Texas product added a birdie at No. 16 to move the match to dormie. The match ended a hole later.

Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa (U.S.) def. Ian Poulter/Rory McIlroy (Europe), 4 and 3

This dynamic American duo moved to 3-0 while dropping the two Euro stalwarts to a combined 0-5.

Quiet in his Friday morning foursomes loss with McIlroy, Poulter showed life early by matching Johnson’s birdie with a 22-foot make at the opening hole. But McIlroy couldn’t do the same at the par-5 second, lipping out his birdie after Johnson hit his second shot from 271 yards to 14 feet to set up an easy two-putt birdie, which put the Americans ahead, 1 up.

Poulter got it back three holes later, draining a 28-foot birdie at No. 5 to tie the match back up. But at the short par-4 sixth, Morikawa drove it to 12 feet to earn the conceded eagle and another 1-up lead for the U.S. A hole later, Morikawa stuck another tee shot, this time from much shorter distance, to 7 feet at the par-3 seventh and made the putt to double the U.S. advantage. Morikawa's par at No. 8 was good enough for a win and moved the U.S. lead to 3 up.

Poulter rattled the stick with a wedge shot at No. 10, but Morikawa stuffed one to match the gimme birdie. Morikawa would then answer an incredible Poulter approach from a fairway bunker at No. 14, and their short birdies would offset as the U.S. kept its 3-up lead, now with four holes to play.

Morikawa quickly ended it with a 22-foot birdie at No. 15. Just like that, McIlroy, who won just one hole in two fourball matches this week, hasn't reached the 16th hole in four straight team-play Ryder Cup matches.

"Disappointing not to contribute a point for the team yet," McIlroy said. "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."