Europe will take a commanding 10-6 lead into the closing singles session of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles after routing the US in the foursomes for the second successive day.
Victories in three of the matches, plus a half-point in the other, undid all the good work the Americans put in this morning in clipping the Euros’ 5-3 overnight lead to just one point by the end of the fourballs session.
Incredibly, Europe trounced the USA 7-1 over the course of the two foursomes sessions, leaving Paul McGinley’s men needing just four points from tomorrow’s 12 matches to retain the trophy.
That, though, is far from a foregone conclusion. Two years ago, the US led by the same scoreline going into the final session only to lose 14½-13½. The difference between then and now, though, was that Europe had the momentum going into Sunday after a stirring fightback late on Saturday. Tonight, the US team-room has no such straws to clutch at.
Following the ‘Miracle at Medinah’, the ‘Pounding in Perthshire’ is well and truly on.
Bryce Ritchie and Michael McEwan round up a stunning afternoon.
Ryder Cup :: Day 2 :: Saturday Foursomes
Jamie Donaldson & Lee Westwood
won 2&1 against
Zach Johnson & Matt Kuchar
Westwood, the old head in the European Ryder Cup team room, and star rookie Donaldson made up for a painful 4&3 fourballs defeat this morning to bounce back in style with a superb 2&1 win over Johnson and Kuchar in the afternoon foursomes. “We played great foursomes golf yesterday and today,” said Donaldson, who has bagged two points from three so far this week. Westwood, now the joint fifth most successful player in Ryder Cup history, said he took “huge satisfaction” from the win. “There's no easy games out here and it's tough to win a point at the Ryder Cup,” he said. “Jamie played great again today. We played good all day but we were solid and I think we made one bogey, which is pretty good golf in foursomes.” Johnson has lost both his matches so far this week, with Kuchar losing all three.
Sergio Garcia & Rory McIlroy
won 3&2 &
Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan
Garcia, dubbed “useless” by Nick Faldo yesterday, and McIlroy were hoping to get more than the half-point they secured yesterday afternoon – and duly did just that. They won the first after the Americans opened with a bogey and were never down in the match there on in. “It’s nice to put that first win on the board this week,” said McIlroy, who holed some crucial putts in their match. “We've had some great battles and even today was a good battle.” Mahan, still haunted by the duffed chip at Celtic Manor four years ago, hit some terrible tee shots on the closing holes to send partner Furyk off to parts of the golf course nobody has been all week. “They played well over the last couple of holes,” Mahan said, “and made a couple of bombs on us.”
Martin Kaymer & Justin Rose
Patrick Reed & Jordan Spieth
Having taken the impressive scalps of Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher on day on and Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer this morning, rookies Reed and Spieth would have relished the prospect of taking down the unbeaten Rose and his fellow US Open champion Kaymer. For a while, it looked they would do it, too. After restoring parity with a birdie at the fourth hole – having lost the third to a bogey – the US duo got in front when their out-of-sorts opponents rakced up a third consecutive bogey at the sixth. A birdie-three at the next extended their lead to two-up and, heading into the final four holes, their lead was still in tact, albeit down to one. A sloppy bogey on 15 allowed Europe to get back on terms before Reed missed from just three feet as the 16th was halved in double-bogey. With both Americans’ patience growing thinner, the momentum appeared to be with Europe only for the 17th to go the Americans’ way. When both pairs found a greenside bunker at 18, the US could only splash out to 20 feet and two-putt for par and watch on as Kaymer splashed out to five feet, from where Rose converted for a hard-fought half-point.
Victor Dubuisson & Graeme McDowell
won 5&4 against
Jimmy Walker & Rickie Fowler
The effects of playing four matches in two days – each of which went the full 18 holes – finally took its toll on Walker and Fowler as they were dispatched with aplomb by French rookie Dubuisson and his former US Open champion partner McDowell, pictured top. The Euros got their noses in front at the second hole and maintained that lead all the way through to the end. In truth, their weary opponents were no match for them, playing their 14 holes in a sloppy three-over-par. Incredibly, the defeat means that Fowler has now played seven Ryder Cup matches without ever winning. In Dubuisson and McDowell, by contrast, European captain Paul McGinley appears to have unearthed a formidable partnership. Their 5&4 win this afternoon followed their convincing 3&2 takedown of the previously-unbeaten Ryder Cup partnership of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Dubuisson, in particular, was immense. His iron play was sublime and he looked completely at ease on this stage, despite being a rookie. He was, without doubt, the star of the afternoon.
Ryder Cup :: Stat of the Session
Of the 65 holes that were played the second Saturday session of the Ryder Cup this afternoon, the Europeans were up in 41. The US could only muster a lead in 12 of those 65.