Capsules from Friday’s matches at the Ryder Cup:
Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau, United States, def. Justin Rose and Jon Rahm, Europe, 1 up.
Finau made his Ryder Cup debut by nearly hitting his tee shot into the water. Rose began his fifth cup by hitting into 3 feet for birdie. Koepka hit it great but couldn’t convert putts. Finau chipped in for eagle on the short par-4 sixth. Europe led by as many as 2 up and never trailed until the shot of the day. Finau’s 8-iron came up short and hit the wooden plank instead of going into the water, soared high in the air and plopped down within 3 feet for birdie to square the match. On the final hole, Rose hit into the water with his approach, Rahm went long and missed his 10-foot putt for par. The last hole is the only time the Americans led.
Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, United States, def. Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen, Europe, 4 and 2.
McIlroy missed a birdie putt on the opening hole, which set the tone for his day. He failed to make a birdie. This was not an aesthetically pleasing match — more like a pillow fight — until the Americans took over. Europe went 1 up when Johnson missed a 5-foot par putt on No. 8. Europe made bogey on the next hole to halve the match, Fowler made a 4-foot birdie on the 10th for the lead, and Johnson made back-to-back birdies for a 3-up lead. Johnson ended it with a tee shot to short range for birdie on the par-3 16th.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, United States, def. Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, Europe, 1 up.
Spieth showed off some of his best form of the year, nearly holing out on the opening hole, making a 15-foot par putt to halve the fourth hole, and chipping in for birdie on No. 6 as the Americans built a 3-up lead. Europe rallied behind Casey, who ran off three straight birdies to square the match through 13 holes. The pivotal moment was at the 15th, when Thomas hit his approach over the water to 6 feet and Hatton’s shot spun back into the water. Thomas made birdie for a 1-up lead, and the Americans held the lead until Hatton failed to make a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th, and Spieth holed his 3-footer for par.
Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, Europe, def. Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods, United States, 3 and 1.
Woods returned to the Ryder Cup for the first time in 2012 and immediately added to his losing record. At his side was Reed, who hit into the water on his opening shot to the green. Woods made birdie on No. 9 for the first U.S. lead of the match, and Reed followed with a birdie. Molinari made a pair of birdies to square the match, and Fleetwood took over from there. He made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th for a 1-up lead, holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the next hole and Molinari closed out the Americans and won the only point for Europe with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole.
Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, Europe, def. Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, United States, 3 and 2.
A rugged start turned in Europe’s favor quickly. The first four holes were halved, and then the Americans were scrambling for par and not making the putts. Europe won three straight holes to go 3 up at the turn. Europe started the back nine by winning two straight holes with pars to go 5 up. Johnson made a birdie putt at No. 13 to trim the deficit to 3 up with five holes to play, only for both sides to halve the next three holes.
Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, Europe, def. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, United States, 4 and 2.
McIlroy was coming off a bad loss in the morning and didn’t start all that well. He missed the green badly on the par-3 second hole but salvaged a halve with a clutch par putt. This was the only foursomes match the Americans led, winning the first hole with a par and the par-5 third hole with a birdie. After that, it was all Europe, mostly because of American mistakes off the tee and around the green. Europe won three straight holes with pars to lead 2 up at the turn, chopped up the 10th hole to make bogey and still halved the hold, and turned back a potential rally by winning the 12th with a par. Poulter nearly hit iron into the water on the 13th. McIlroy hit the best shot of the afternoon with the ball beyond the hazard line and well below his feet. He hit it to 18 feet, and Poulter made the putt for birdie.
Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren, Europe, def. Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, United States, 5 and 4.
Garcia and Noren were so good that no one could have beaten them. They combined for a 5-under 31 on the front nine and built a 7-up lead at the turn. Mickelson and DeChambeau shoulder part of the blame, but not much. DeChambeau left Mickelson in some tough spots, and Mickelson didn’t show much until the back nine. All that did was keep the Americans out of the record book for the worst loss. They finished with three birdies in four holes, but still didn’t get past the 14th hole.
Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, Europe, def. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, United States, 5 and 4.
Molinari and Fleetwood were the only team to go 2-0 on the opening day. They seized control early with a birdie on the third hole for their first lead, and momentum really swung on the fifth hole when both teams were out of position. Fleetwood holed a 15-foot par putt, and Thomas missed his par putt from just inside that range. Europe was leading 2 up through eight holes when Thomas pulled his approach on the par-5 ninth into a collar of deep rough, Spieth muffed the pitch, Thomas chipped about 6 feet short from a sticky lie, and Spieth missed the putt to lose the par 5 with a bogey. Spieth hit into the water off the tee at the 13th to fall 4 down, and Molinari made a 6-foot birdie putt on the next hole to end it.
Source: The Associated Press