5 takeaways from Saturday’s Ryder Cup four-ball play
Here are 5 quick takeaways from the Saturday morning four-ball action from Le Golf National.
1) Europe surge clear
Europe took three of the four matches in the four-ball action this morning, increasing their lead to 8-4 over the U.S. side. The European team dominated on Saturday morning, taking the session 3-1 over their U.S. counterparts, whose one crumb of comfort was provided by the pairing of Spieth/Thomas. The result of the four-ball session means that Europe is guaranteed at the very least to have a share of the lead going into Sunday’s singles, and with the foursomes to come this afternoon, they will have designs on building a mammoth lead heading into the final day.
2) Garcia/Mcilroy’s excellence
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope)
This dynamic duo stole the show on Saturday morning in Paris. Pouring in birdies and lighting up Le Golf National with their energy and enthusiasm, Garcia and Mcilroy combined to make five birdies through eight holes to build a 4up advantage. Their opponents, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau, looked like they were about to stage a monumental comeback, clawing themselves back to just one down with two holes to play, until Garcia delivered the dagger on the 17th green. With Koepka inside of him on the penultimate green and looking likely to have an opportunity to tie the match up, the Spaniard rolled a lengthy birdie attempt down the hill and into the back of the cup to spark joyous celebrations from the Europeans. Koepka couldn’t convert his birdie attempt, and the first point of the day was on the board for Team Europe.
3) Reed/Woods provide no energy
While Garcia and Mcilroy bounced around Le Golf National with gusto, Reed and Woods were the total opposite. The low energy provided by this pairing was startling, even after they won a hole, which wasn’t very often. Woods may not have been at his best, but he might as well have been out there on his own, as his partner Patrick Reed toiled around Le Golf National. Reed failed to find a fairway until the ninth hole, finding the water twice with tee balls and knocking another out of bounds. The duo were defeated 4&3 for the second day running by the European pairing of Fleetwood/Molinari.
4) Le Golf National is getting the better of Team USA
The host course this week has offered up superb drama already, and the stern challenge that Le Golf National provides has no doubt suited the European side more. Unlike many courses on the PGA Tour where often finding the rough is usually not a big issue, Le Golf National demands thought and accuracy. Team USA struggled mightily in Saturday’s morning session, with their inability to keep the ball in-play proving to be very expensive. Butch Harmon, speaking on Sky Sports, stated that it’s necessary to begin building and maintaining courses in the U.S. that offer the same challenges that Le Golf National provides in order for the U.S. players to get accustomed to Ryder Cup conditions in Europe. It’s hard to disagree.
5) Spieth/Thomas keep the U.S. alive
JT with the walk-off birdie to defeat Team Europe! ????????
— PGA of America (@PGA)
While many of the U.S. players involved in the third session of the event struggled mightily, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were the exceptions. Spieth made five birdies early on in his round, and he was the driving force behind the U.S. side getting in front against the European pairing of Poulter/Rahm. When Spieth began to struggle towards the end, his good friend and teammate, Thomas, stepped up. Thomas first holed his birdie putt on 16 for a half and then drained another on 17 to clinch victory (2&1) and with it the USA’s only point of the session. Captain Furyk will be hoping the duo can repeat their exploits in this afternoons foursomes.