Europe’s hopes of retaining the Ryder Cup suffered a further blow as they lost Saturday’s foursomes 3-1 to trail the United States by a record 9-3 after three sessions in Wisconsin.
Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia were again Europe’s only victors, battling from three down after five holes to beat Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger 3&1.
The win extends Garcia’s individual points tally record to 27½ and means he was won 24 matches, more than any other player.
But it was another session in which Europe were as poor on the Whistling Straits greens as the Americans were dominant, and every player on the home side has contributed to their score.
Justin Thomas, who teamed up with good friend Jordan Spieth to win a point in the foursomes, celebrated by gulping down a can of beer and spraying the rest over the first tee to the delight of the already exuberant American fans waiting for the fourballs session to start.
It was a third successive session won 3-1 by the Americans, with four fourball matches still to play on Saturday. Twelve singles matches follow on Sunday, with the US needing to reach 14½ points to regain the trophy.
Europe needed a fast start if they were to eat into the record four-point deficit opened up by their hosts on day one.
However, Koepka and Berger won the first three holes of the top match and Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa followed suit in match two against Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.
Rahm and Garcia started the fightback on the sixth, while rookies Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger won three of the first six holes to go clear of Thomas and Spieth.
And when Matt Fitzpatrick holed a five-footer to win the long fifth in the bottom match, the momentum was certainly shifting towards the visitors on another chilly morning by Lake Michigan.
Garcia chipped in from off the front of the ninth green to level his match and then holed a birdie putt to win the 12th.
Casey and Hatton then started to claw their way back from four down at the turn, winning the 11th and 13th holes, and when Casey sensationally holed his second shot on the par-four 14th from 107 yards, it looked like that match might swing Europe’s way.
But elsewhere, momentum was with the Americans. Hovland missed putts on the ninth and 10th holes to allow Spieth and Thomas to draw level.
Meanwhile, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay were holing lengthy birdie putts on the seventh and ninth and they took further control of their match against Fitzpatrick and Westwood when the English pair bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes.
In the top match, Garcia whipped a fairway wood in to six feet on the par-five 16th to set up Rahm for an eagle that effectively ended their match.
But that point just masked Europe’s problems. Hatton had an awful 15th hole, coming up woefully short with his approach to the green and then missing a five-foot par putt for a half as he and Casey finally succumbed 2&1.
It summed up his and Europe’s struggles.
Wiesberger and Hovland missed par putts on the 14th and 15th holes as Spieth and Thomas went from one down to one up and although the match went down the last, another European error – Wiesberger hit into a stream – gave the point away.
And in the final match, Westwood and Fitzpatrick were unable to stop the onslaught, losing 2&1 on the 17th.
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