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HomeSportsEurope stretches Ryder Cup lead to 7 points over U.S.

Europe stretches Ryder Cup lead to 7 points over U.S.

GIDONIA MONTESELLO, Italy — World No. 1 golfer Scotty Scheffler was comforted by his wife Meredith at Marco Simeone Golf Club on Saturday morning. He could only wipe the tears from his eyes and shake his head in disbelief.

Scheffler and teammate Brooks Koepka, a five-time major champion, lost 9-7 to Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Sweden’s Ludwig Aberg in the most 18-hole match in Ryder Cup history. The U.S. team is trying to figure it out with its worst loss in the tournament. What was already a bad weekend turned even worse on Saturday.

The score of Team USA’s opening loss on Saturday was so stunning that Justin Thomas could be seen on television walking down the fairway telling his caddy Jim “Bones” McKay: “Nine and seven.”

Four four-goal (best-goal) matches will be played on Saturday afternoon, followed by 12 singles matches on Sunday, with the United States trailing Europe 9.5 – 2.5. The US team’s current seven-point deficit is the largest since the third quarter of the five-quarter period. After three games in 1967 and 1975, the United States led by seven points.

After losing a game on the first day and trailing Europe 6.5 – 1.5 on Friday, the United States finally prevailed in Saturday morning’s foursomes (alternating shooting) match. Open champions Brian Harman and Max Homa beat Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Austria’s Sepp Straka 4-2 ), earning the team its first perfect score.

Harman and Homa combined for five birdies and two eagles, including an eagle on No. 16 that ended the match when Harman almost hit his drive on the green and Homa came in from 39 feet Cut the ball in.

“We needed something to meet our needs,” Homa said. “I felt like we were ready this morning. We were ready to go out and play some great golf. And we did. Someone had to provide the spark, so I’m glad it was us. We were obviously in a big hole, but we The right people are here to help us out.”

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Tommy Fleetwood added another point for Europe as they defeated Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas 2-1 in the top flight. At least Team USA showed some fight. Spieth and Thomas missed the first three holes but fell just one shot behind on the 16th hole.

Spain’s Jon Rahm and England’s Tyrrell Hatton won the final game of the morning, beating Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele 2-1. The American pair trailed by three shots after eight holes but rallied on the 14th hole to tie the score. But then Schauffele missed a 6.5-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and a 3.5-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, giving the European pair another victory. The European team achieved a record of 7 wins and 1 loss in foursomes.

“Yesterday was an amazing day and we wanted to enjoy it because it’s very rare for someone to play the whole day at the Ryder Cup without dropping a point,” McIlroy said. “We enjoyed it last night but at the same time we knew the Americans were going to take some damage and they obviously wanted to get a quick start this morning and our goal was to not let them do that.”

The story of Saturday morning was the dominance of Team Europe’s new star duo: Hovland, the defending FedEx Cup champion, and Aberg, who played last season at Texas Tech before turning pro in June.

The European duo defeated Koepka and Scheffler on the first four holes. They led by five shots after seven holes and then closed out the match on each of the next four holes. The American team didn’t win a single hole. The American team shot 40, 5 over par, on the front nine; the European team shot 31, 4 under par. The match lasted only 2 hours and 19 minutes and failed to reach the 12th hole.

It was the biggest win of any format in the 18-hole Ryder Cup, which was first played in 1927. The previous most lopsided losses in the 18-hole tournament were 8-7, occurring twice in singles play, most recently in 1997 by current U.S. team vice-captain Fred Couples over Ian Ian Woosnam.

The previous worst defeat in foursomes was 7-6, which happened three times, most recently in 2012 when Americans Keegan Bradley and Phil Mixon lost to the current European team Captains Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.

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