Team USA stretched their lead to 11-5 on day two of the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits after another long and painful day for Europe that left them with a monumental challenge going into the final day.
Team Europe lost 3-1 in the morning foursomes but had the first point of the day on the board thanks to super Spaniards Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, having come back from three behind to beat Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger. His 24th victory in the Ryder Cup, Garcia has now won the most matches in the tournament’s history.
After that terrific fight back the pair embraced on the green but the celebrations wouldn’t last long. Dustin Johnson and Colin Morikawa beat Englishmen Paul Casey and Tyrell Hatton 2&1. For the first time since the world rankings began in 1986, the top-ranked American player, in this case Johnson, had won a match in each of the first three sessions at the Ryder Cup.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth then remarkably came from three holes down to defeat the rookie pair of Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger 2UP.
Speaking after the comeback, Thomas said, “It was huge. I'm proud of everybody on the team. I felt like early we definitely had the opportunity for how our matches got started out and how Jordan and I started out, and then the first match they came back, and they were coming back on the second match, and then we were obviously down.
“So they had a really good opportunity to kind of flip it a little on us, and man, I'm glad that all these guys on our team this week are on my team. They are great players and competitors and fighters.”
The Americans landed the final point of the foursomes in the last match when Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick were beaten by Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay 2&1. After a morning of US dominance, with the home nation leading 9-3 heading into the afternoon fourballs, it was the biggest lead after three sessions since 1975 - and that was against Great Britain and Ireland as Europe didn't join the event until 1979.
Europe made sure they went into Sunday with at least a glimmer of hope of retaining their crown on Sunday with a slightly better showing in the fourball. 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry put in a sensational performance sinking a nerveless par putt to clinch a full point for Europe over Harris English and Tony Finau alongside Tyrell Hatton. Almost immediately after, more joy came from world number one Rahm and Garcia, who beat Koepka and Spieth 2&1, making three wins from three for the duo.
Speaking after the win, Lowry said, "I've always wanted to play in a Ryder Cup and we are a few points behind but I am not stopping believing. I am having the week of my life, it is an incredible experience.
"I really hope we can give them loads tomorrow and put up a good performance. You just never know, all morning I was thinking of Medinah and there is just such a good bond in our team.”
However, it wasn’t all Team Europe’s way as a poor week for Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy continued, with the duo handily beaten 4&3 by Johnson, who has won all four of his matches this week, and Morikawa. The fourballs session finished at two wins apiece, leaving USA with a 11-5 lead going into Sunday’s single, after Scottie Scheffler and Bryson Dechambeau overcame Tommy Fleetwod and Hovland 3&1.
Europe have a huge mountain to climb tomorrow. Miracle at Whistling Straits, anyone?