Ryder Cup: Americans cruise in Saturday Foursomes, open commanding lead over Europe

HAVEN, Wis. — With the sun glistening off Lake Michigan on Saturday morning, Xander Schauffele drilled a 31-foot birdie putt at the seventh hole at Whistling Straits for the win. His foursomes partner, Patrick Cantlay, fetched the ball from the hole and clenched his fist.

© File photo Ryder Cup 2021

That moment, which tied their match with Englishmen Matthew Fitzpatrick and Lee Westwood, gave Cantlay a discernible lift and led to a rare show of emotion from “Patty Ice,” who admittedly says he gets into a trance when he’s playing and hasn’t figured out how to break out of it. That hasn’t been a problem at the 43rd Ryder Cup.

Cantlay and Schauffele rode the momentum of that winning putt at No. 7 to win three of the next four holes and build a 3-up lead on their way to a 2-and-1 victory.

“It felt like our momentum was going to come, and then it did right in the middle of the round,” Cantlay said, “that stretch 7 through 11 was awesome.”

Cantlay’s putter heated up with a clutch eight-foot par putt at No. 8 and then he drilled a 23-foot birdie putt at the ninth to grab the lead. As the putt fell, Cantlay detonated cheers in the pro-USA gallery, encouraging them to make some noise by raising his arms like a cheerleader. But he wasn’t done egging the crowd on. As he walked off the green, he put his left hand to his ear and pantomimed that he couldn’t hear them. They responded in kind.

“I told myself, these are the putts you cannot miss because this is a pure momentum putt,” he said of the par putt at 8. “I buried it and went to the next hole and buried it again. It was like, now we are off to the races, and you could feel the energy completely flip.”

Team USA made birdie at No. 10 and won the 11th with a par to open a 3-up lead and never looked back, with Schauffele sticking his approach at 15 from 151 yards to two feet for a kick-in birdie.

Ryder Cup: Live scores | Format, scoring explained

Cantlay and Schauffele improved to 2-0 in foursomes for the week and 4-0 in the alternate-shot format counting their Presidents Cup record in 2019. How close have these two teammates, who regularly play practice rounds on the PGA Tour together and took a trip to Napa with their significant others after the Tour Championship, become?

“They’re finishing their own sentences,” said Cantlay’s longtime swing instructor Jamie Mulligan.

On Saturday morning, they finished off Fitzpatrick and Westwood for another full point as Team USA extended their lead to 9-3 at the conclusion of the morning Foursomes session.

— Adam Schupak

Spieth, Thomas battle back to earn crucial point

Through the first six holes of Saturday morning’s Foursomes matches at the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were even par. Not bad, but not good enough.

The Americans trailed European rookies Bernd Wiesberger and Viktor Hovland by three holes after the opening stretch, but fought back around the turn with wins on Nos. 7, 9 and 10 to even the match.

3UP thru 6 🔥

The Hovland/Wiesberger pairing aren’t holding back.#TeamEurope #RyderCup pic.twitter.com/O7XkVXG9Cp

— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 25, 2021

When Team USA failed to find the green in regulation on No. 11, Wiesberger buried a 10-footer for birdie to reclaim the lead. After a pair of pars on the 12th and 13th holes, the Americans won the 14th and tied the match with birdie after Wiesberger’s second shot from the fairway went just 68 yards, leaving another 44 yards to reach the green. Team USA earned its first lead of the match on the next hole after the Europeans struggled off the tee en route to an ill-timed bogey.

After winning the last two holes with pars, the Americans played their way to at least half a point thanks to an eagle on the par-5 16th to take a 2-up lead with two to play.

Similar to Friday morning’s incredible flop shot, Thomas put Spieth in trouble down the left side of the par-3 17th. Unlike Friday morning’s incredible flop shot, Spieth couldn’t find the green and the Europeans got a late win to send the match to the 18th , the only match of the morning to reach the final hole.

On the 18th the Americans found the fairway but were short of the green on the approach. After missing the fairway right off the tee, Team Europe’s approach found the water short of the green, opening the door for the Americans to cruise to victory with a concession, 2 up.

Thomas improves to 2-2-0 in the format, with Spieth now 3-2-2. Wiesberger lost in his Foursomes debut, while Hovland is now 0-2-0 in the format.

– Adam Woodard

Garcia makes Ryder Cup history in win alongside Rahm

HAVEN, Wis. – Facing a sizable hole after Friday’s play, European captain Padraig Harrington turned to world No. 1 Jon Rahm and all-time Ryder Cup points leader Sergio Garcia to commence a Saturday comeback.

Then the Spaniards, with Europe down 6-2, started colder than the football weather that greeted the second day of play and fell into a 3-down abyss.

But the Spanish Armada righted the ship.

After losing the first three holes, the Spaniards, as they did in the first match on Friday, put blue on the scoreboard and sent hope back to their teammates. Instead of hanging around and hoping Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger would start making mistakes, Rahm and Garcia turned the match around.

Rahm and Garcia cut the deficit to 2 down with a birdie on the sixth, to 1 down with a long par putt from Garcia on the eighth, and then squared the match when Garcia chipped in from just in front of the ninth green.

The Spaniards took their first lead with a 10-foot birdie from Garcia on the 12th and then went 2 up with a solid par on the 12th. After the lead was cut to 1 up, Garcia came up with a spectacular shot from 244 yards on the par-5 16th, the ball coming to rest four feet from the hole.

Now 2 up, the Spaniards closed out the match on the 17th, 3 and 1.

“It was important, but we need more,” Garcia said of the win. “What we did is not enough, not the situation we are in. We are hoping that our troops rally hard in those last few holes because we need a little shift. If not, it’s going to become a big uphill battle. So very proud of the way we played obviously on the personal side. So happy and thrilled to play with Jon, and the way I felt the two days in how we pushed each other and helped each other. Just excited about the golf we played.”

Rahm and Garcia have now won the only two matches Europe has captured.

Garcia has won a record 27.5 points and moved to 20-13-6 in Foursomes and Four-Ball play. He also won a record 24th match.

Rahm is the 12th different player to partner with Garcia.

– Steve DiMeglio

DJ, Morikawa roll again, this time over Casey, Hatton

Remember Dustin Johnson, who won the Fed Ex Cup and then captured his first Masters? He looks eerily similar at Whistling Straits as he and Collin Morikawa rolled to a comfortable victory in their early match on Saturday, leading wire to wire.

Like they did on Friday, when the duo collected seven birdies in a 3-and-2 win over Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland, DJ and Morikawa blew out to an early advantage. This time, they rolled in birdies on the first three holes.

Casey and Tyrrell Hatton didn’t go down without a fight, using birdies on 11, 13 and 14 to pull within one, but the Euros fouled up No. 15 and the Americans closed things by halving No. 17.

For Casey, the magic has worn off a bit — he’s playing in his fifth Ryder Cup, but he’s been beaten all three times — the first time he’s lost more than one time in a Ryder Cup.

— Tim Schmitt

MORE:

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