FRIDAY FOURBALLS: USA 3: EUROPE 1
MATCH 1: USA WIN
Brooks Koepka & Tony Finau defeated Justin Rose & Jon Rahm 1UP
Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau claimed an unlikely win over Justin Rose and Jon Rahm in the opening match of the Ryder Cup.
Rose and Rahm took control early in their match and despite a Finau eagle they held the lead for the majority of the morning, but a late piece of luck for Finau and a final hole disaster left a bitter pill to swallow for the European side.
By the 12th hole Europe found themselves 2UP thanks to a mixture of chip ins and big putts, but Koepka won the 13th with an impressive birdie and Finau hit the front of the wooden banking on the 16th and ended just a few feet from the hole.
The match would head to the final hole all-square, but as the American pair found the green safely in two, Rahm was left to hack out of thick rough back on to the fairway and Rose's approach shot ran through the back in to the water. The Spaniard couldn't manage a final-hole par to halve the match, giving Team USA a 2 point advantage.
"I like pulling those out when it really matters," Finau said of 16. "Sometimes you get a good kick. Sometimes you don't. That one was a very good kick and we needed it. It was at the right time. I was able to brush that one in and have the momentum be on our side.
"It was an incredible match to be a part of, and to win it with this guy -- proud of the way we hung in there. The reason we played together is because our demeanor, we're never up; we are never down. We fight and we never give up. We have that attitude and I've always been that way and Brooks has always been that way. If we didn't have that attitude, we wouldn't have been able to come back and win this match. We were able to pull it off and it's a big win for our team."
MATCH 2: USA WIN
Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler defeated Rory McIlroy & Thorbjorn Olesen 4&2
Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler grabbed the first point of the Ryder Cup, defeating a seemingly out-of-form Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen 4&2.
It didn’t immediately go in favour of the American’s though. Olesen showed signs of nerves as he found the water from the first tee, but Europe were let off as Dustin Johnson missed a short putt to win the opening hole.
For a large majority of the front nine neither group seemed to truly find any momentum, with Olesen being the first to take advantage for his side with a par on the par-three eighth hole.
But DJ and Fowler found their stride around the turn, winning four of the next five holes to move to three up with five to play, before Fowler holed a monster putt for a half on the next.
McIlroy and Olesen found themselves dormie as they headed to the 16th, but neither could get it close and despite their best efforts, conceded DJ’s short birdie chance for the American’s to gain the first point on the board.
"We just played some sold golf, Fowler said afterwards. "When one of us was out of the hole, the other picked the guy up and played some solid golf. We knew that was going to be needed against Rory and Thorbjørn. They're great ball-strikers, and knew it was going to be a tough match."
"Our demeanours are pretty similar, especially on the golf course," DJ added. "We practise a lot together. We spend a lot of time together, whether out here this week or even at home. We felt we'd be really good partners, and so far so good."
Match 3: USA WIN
Jordan Spieth & Justin Thomas defeated Paul Casey & Tyrrell Hatton 1UP
Jordan Spieth was split up from regular Ryder Cup partner Patrick Reed to be paired with Justin Thomas, and it proved a good move from Captain Furyk as the long-time friends raced in to the lead.
It's certainly hard to go up against a Jordan Spieth that seemingly can't miss on the greens, lipping out from the fairway for eagle on the first and holing lengthy gains to find themselves three up after 7, with Spieth himself five under in that span.
It looked unlikely, but Casey and Hatton went on to stage an impressive comeback over the back nine, birdieing five holes in a row between them from the 9th to get it back to A/S by the 13th. They dovetailed well, with Casey making the first four and Hatton finding a birdie on the 13th after Casey put his approach shot in the water.
Thomas made birdie on the par-four 15th to move ahead once more, but missed a chance to claim the win for he and Spieth on the 17th.
On the 18th, Hatton produced one of the shots of the morning on the final hole to set-up a chance for birdie to pull the match back to all-square. He couldn't get it done, and it was a tricky par-putt from Spieth that confirmed the third point of the morning for the USA.
Match 4: EUROPE WIN
Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood defeated Patrick Reed & Tiger Woods 3&1
It wasn’t the start Captain America would have predicted, finding the water with his second while Tiger was unable to convert an off-the-green birdie and the pair found themselves one down after Molinari made birdie.
But the European’s blinked on the second, both finding the bunker as Woods hit his to within four feet and the match was quickly back to all-square. Another move for Europe on four put them ahead for a couple of holes, but both Fleetwood and Molinari struggled while Tiger and Reed easily found themselves close to the flag with their second.
It was back to all-square, and the momentum moved in favour of team USA, moving ahead by two holes after 10. Yet that would be the end of any more American birdies, and Europe quickly responded.
Molinari holed a length birdie putt on the 11th and followed it with a birdie on the 12th before another on the 15th moved them ahead.
On the par-three 16th it was Tommy Fleetwood who holed a lengthy putt for birdie, and Molinari matched him on the next to claim the first point for Europe.