The US team won the opening day of the Ryder Cup, with a convincing 18-11 victory. Europe’s chances of winning the match now look slim as they have lost their first two matches on Friday.
The european ryder cup points leaders is a list of the top 10 players who have led their respective countries in points so far.
The United States won both of Friday’s sessions 3-1 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, giving them their largest lead after day one of a Ryder Cup match versus Europe.
Bryson DeChambeau wowed the home crowd with a 417-yard drive down the par-five fifth, while Jordan Spieth barely escaped a plunge in Lake Michigan after losing his footing when playing a spectacular approach from thick rough.
The reigning champions were humbled on the day, with Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia emerging as Europe’s sole victors, defeating much-favoured American duo Spieth and Justin Thomas 3&1 in the first foursomes match.
The second point for Europe came from two halved matches in the afternoon fourballs as the wind picked up to 30 mph.
Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland were pegged back from 3UP after eight by Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas, who sank a 10-foot birdie putt to win the 18th and his half-point.
But they were the only bright spots on an otherwise bleak day for Europe, which suffered mostly on the greens.
“We hit the ball well, but we didn’t nail the putts,” Europe captain Padraig Harrington said.
“It was, without a question, a trying day. At this point, we’ve only played for maybe a quarter of an hour. It’s hardly a fantastic start, but there are still 20 points up for grabs.”
The Americans, on the other hand, sank putt after putt, with Dustin Johnson and Tony Finau in particular shining, to seize control of the match.
Captain Steve Stricker of the United States, on the other hand, cautioned his team against complacency.
“In previous Ryder Cups, we’ve had some issues that have bitten us in the rear,” he remarked. “These men are aware of this, and they are focused on regaining their strength.”
“Before I went, I told the boys to try to win that first session again and pretend [Friday] never occurred,” he said.
Following their dominance in the foursomes, which saw Cantlay and Xander Schauffele smashing Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter 5&3, the Americans continued their dominance in the fourballs, with McIlroy and Shane Lowry being defeated 4&3 by Finau and Harris English.
At different points throughout the fourballs, Europe led in the bottom three matches, but the tide switched to the US in a 30-minute period halfway through the session.
Number two in the world Johnson made back-to-back 15-foot birdie putts on the 10th and 11th holes to put the US 3UP in the lead over Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger, while English and Finau combined for three birdies from the eighth to extend their advantage to three holes.
Finau, who made a 15-foot putt on 13 to go 4UP, then sank a par putt on the 15th to finish his match. On the 17th, Olympic champion Schauffele, who was playing alongside Johnson, did the same to put the US team up 5-1.
DeChambeau is a crowd-pleaser.
The match between Scottie Scheffler and DeChambeau and Rahm and Hatton attracted the most attention.
Thousands lined the first fairway as DeChambeau’s errant opening shot hit a lady in the knee, but he had a great foil in Scheffler. Scheffler’s steady performance enabled DeChambeau to focus on his strengths.
DeChambeau blasted a 417-yard drive down the par-five fifth to roars from the crowd, leaving himself a 75-yard wedge for his second shot, which ended in a hole-winning eagle.
“I knew if there was a little downwind, I could take a different path,” DeChambeau said.
“It was above 20 mph, so I told myself, “I have to shoot for the green,” which I accomplished. I just aimed for the green and let the bombs fly.”
But it was never more than one hole, with Rahm birdies on the ninth and eleventh holes tying the match following US birdies on the eighth and tenth holes. A par on the 15th hole by DeChambeau was enough to put the US back in front in what was becoming an increasingly crucial match for the visitors.
The players were aware of it as well, with many Europeans congregating around the 17th green. Hatton, who had been down after missing many putts, watched a 25-footer to win the hole slip by inches, but he made up with a good putt on the 18th to tie the match.
The bottom match, on the other hand, was a wasted chance for Europe. On the 10th and 11th holes, Fleetwood had two putts that were under five feet. The Europeans would have led 4UP if those had gone in, but the advantage was cut to one hole when Cantlay almost holed his tee shot to win the 12th.
Thomas subsequently eagled the par-five 16th hole to tie the match, but Fleetwood and Hovland maintained their nerve to split the last two holes in a tight finish.
The Spaniards are a bright spot in Europe.
On a calm but cold morning, the first foursomes matches teed off on the famous course near Lake Michigan, which has hosted the US PGA Championship three times.
The anticipated pantomime booing for Rahm and Sergio Garcia on the first tee drowned out the little support for the Europeans due to the strict Covid-19 travel restrictions.
At the top match, world number one Rahm, who talked on Thursday about wanting to build on the “Spanish heritage” in the Ryder Cup, made three birdies in five holes to put Europe two up at the halfway mark against the highly regarded American duo of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
In the alternative shot format, Garcia then rolled in a 20-footer on the 15th to put Europe three holes up with three to play and secure at least half a point.
Despite a spectacular shot by Spieth, who blasted his ball 80 feet into the air and five feet from the hole from thick greenside rough before overbalancing and racing down a slope towards the lake, coming up just a yard or two short, the match was called off on the 17th.
Garcia, who was already the competition’s leading points scorer, equaled Sir Nick Faldo’s Ryder Cup record of 23 match victories with the triumph.
However, rookies Cantlay and Schauffele won the opening five holes against veteran Europeans Poulter and McIlroy to set the tone for the home team’s remarkable performance.
Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger never trailed in their 2&1 victory against Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, while Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa drew away on the back nine to win 3&2 over Paul Casey and Hovland.
In a nutshell, here’s how the US got their lead: Friday’s results
The US dominated Europe on Friday at the Ryder Cup. They won all four matches and took a commanding lead in the overall standings. Reference: ryder cup 2021 team predictions.
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