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US stretch Ryder Cup lead over Europe to 9-3

Pádraig Harrington will need a miracle to turn this around.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE UNITED STATES kept the pedal down Saturday, winning three of four morning foursomes to take a whopping 9-3 lead over Europe in their quest to regain golf’s Ryder Cup.

Captain Steve Stricker’s Americans were coming off a dominant opening day at Whistling Straits, their 6-2 lead their largest day-one margin in 46 years.

With 16 matches remaining — Saturday afternoon’s four four-balls and 12 singles on Sunday — the United States were more than halfway to the 14.5 points they need to reclaim the coveted trophy and deny Europe a fifth triumph in six editions.

As holders, Europe need only 14 points to retain the Cup.

For the second straight day, Sergio Garcia and world number one Jon Rahm were Europe’s only foursomes winners, rallying from 3-down through five holes to beat four-time major winner Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger 3&1 in the opening match.

But the European fightback ended there as the Americans rallied to win two more matches and led all the way to victory in a third.

Stricker sent out the same foursomes duos he used on Friday, while European captain Padraig Harrington rang the changes, notably sitting down Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy.

Despite some promising moments for Europe, the outcome was the same.

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World number two Dustin Johnson and reigning British Open champion Collin Morikawa, both two-time major winners, went 1-up on the opening hole and were as many as 4-up on the way to a 2&1 victory over Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were 3-down through six and 1-down through 13 against Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger but won three straight holes from the 14th through the 16th and beat the European rookies 2-up

In the final match of the morning, Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele and PGA Tour player of the year Patrick Cantlay surrendered an early lead and were 1-down to Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick through eight but rallied for a 2&1 win.

© – AFP, 2021

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