US set to regain Ryder Cup from Europe

The United States look set to regain the Ryder Cup after another dominating display on day two at Whistling Straits saw them open a record six-shot lead over Europe.

The home side, who led 6-2 overnight, extended their advantage to 11-5 and need to win just 3½ out of the 12 points on offer in Sunday’s singles to take the title. As defending champions, Europe need to reach 14 points to regain the gold cup.

The biggest final-day comeback margin is four points, achieved by the US at Brookline in 1999 and Europe in 2012 at Medinah.

That Europe are not further behind is chiefly down to the efforts of world number one Jon Rahm, who partnered his fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia to victories in both their matches on Saturday and has now won 3½ points this week.

They followed their 3&1 win in the foursomes with a 2&1 triumph in the fourballs, in which Rahm holed putts of 45, 29 and 27 feet as they beat Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth on an afternoon of tense drama on the shore of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.

Europe had lost Saturday morning’s alternate shot foursomes 3-1 to trail 9-3 in the match and could ill afford to lose the fourball session.

They started well and were leading in each of the top three matches after nine holes.

Rahm and Garcia were three holes ahead after seven but Koepka pegged them back with birdies on the eighth and 10th holes. Another Koepka birdie on the 13th levelled the match but Spieth, who missed several putts of around 10 feet, was again wayward on the 15th, allowing Rahm to put Europe into a lead they would not relinquish.

That point came moments after Shane Lowry showed immense courage to hole a 10-foot putt on the 18th to win Europe’s fourth point of the contest.

The Irishman, playing with Tyrrell Hatton, eventually triumphed in a tight contest with Tony Finau and Harris English that became just the fourth to go down the last.

By this point though, Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, the world numbers two and three, had easily seen off the challenge of the mis-firing Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, winning 4&3 in the bottom match.

It was the third heavy defeat of the week for McIlroy, who missed his first Ryder Cup session since making his debut in 2010 when he was left out of the morning foursomes.

That left just one match out on the course, Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland’s titanic battle against Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau. Europe badly needed a win to go into Sunday trailing 10-6 and summon up the spirit of Medinah.

There was never more than one hole in it over the first 13 holes as the momentum swung from Europe to the US and back again.

But DeChambeau rolled in a birdie putt from seven feet to take the 14th, after Fleetwood had missed from 10. Scheffler then knocked in another from 16 feet and a third successive birdie followed on the 16th as the US took the final point.

More to follow.

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