Golf on Sling: Team America Takes Lead Into Final Day of the Ryder Cup

Oct 02, 2016 by Sling Staff

Coverage begins at noon ET on NBC

Team America had a 5-3 lead at the end of the first day of Ryder Cup play, but the Europeans had the momentum, having won 3 of 4 matches during afternoon play. Day 2 started with Americans Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth appearing to have turned the ship back around, going 4 up through the first 11 holes against Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello. But the Spaniards struck back, winning 4 of the last 5 holes to halve the match.

After playing even though each of the first 6 holes, Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson would fall behind Justin Rose and Chris Wood, behind losing 3 of the next 7 holes. Walker and Johnson would take 14 and 16, but fall short for a 1 up win for the Europeans.

Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka would blow a 2 up lead over Matt Fitzpatrick and Henrik Stenson, allowing the Europeans to tie it up through 11 holes, before taking the match 3 & 2.

In the final foursome of the morning, Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters were 3 up after just 5 holes, let Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson pull within 1 through 12 holes, but then won 14, 15 and 16 for a 4 & 2 win to bring the total score for the tournament to 6.5 to 5.5 in favor of the Americans, with the Europeans having won the morning 2 to 1.5.

The first four-ball match of the afternoon was a seesaw battle, with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson winning the first hole, staying 1 up through 4, but Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth responded by taking the next 4 holes, to go 3 up. The Europeans would cut the lead to 1 up through 13, as Stenson and Rose took 12 and 13 respectively, but Reed would take the next two holes, helping secure a 2 & 1 win for the U.S. “He’s Captain America,” Spieth would say later of Reed’s performance.

Team America would take the next match 2 & 1, as well, with Phil Mickelson taking the 3rd hole, and Matt Kuchar the 4th to go 2 up, and they never looked back. It was a frustrating match for Martin kaymer, who bested teammate Sergio Garcia on 10 of 17 holes, but couldn’t beat the Americans on any.

After playing even for 6 holes, Danny Willett and Lee Westwood went 1 up on 7, but lost the advantage two holes later, only to take it right back on 10. But American J.B. Holmes would tie things up 13, and Ryan Moore would give America the lead on 17, leading to a 1 up win.

In the final match of the day, Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters would take a commanding 4 up lead on the front 9, and never let Zach Johnson and Brooks Koepka get closer than within 2 before cementing a 4 & 2 win, to avoid an afternoon sweep.

Despite the Europeans’ victory in the final match, the Americans finished the day up 9.5 to 6.5 through the first two days of play. With a dozen singles matches to play, the Americans need 5 points to win, while the Europeans need 7.5 points to tie the score and retain the Cup for another two years. Here are Sunday’s singles matchups (USA vs. Europe):

11:04 Patrick “Captain America” Reed vs. Rory McIlroy
11:15 Jordan Spieth vs. Henrik Stenson
11:26 J.B.Holmes vs. Thomas Pieters
11:37 Rickie Fowler vs. Justin Rose
11:48 Jimmy Walker vs. Rafa Cabrera Bello
11:59 Phil Mickelson vs. Sergio Garcia
12:10 Ryan Moore vs. Lee Westwood
12:21 Brandt Snedeker vs. Andy Sullivan
12:32 Dustin Johnson vs. Chris Wood
12:43 Brooks Koepka vs. Danny Willett
12:54 Matt Kuchar vs. Martin Kaymer
1:05 Zach Johnson vs. Matt Fitzpatrick

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