Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Schupak

Europe inches closer to winning 2023 Ryder Cup, but U.S. wins Saturday fourballs session to maintain glimmer of hope

ROME – For the first time at the 44th Ryder Cup, the U.S. won a session at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

After winning the Saturday afternoon fourballs 3-1, the U.S. trails 10 ½ to 5 ½ and will need to erase the largest deficit in Ryder Cup history if it is going to retain the Cup.

But we’re saying there’s a chance, especially after Patrick Cantlay birdied the final two holes, including a 30-foot birdie putt at 18, to flip his match.

“Hopefully have a ray of light and we can build on this session and try and pull off a big victory tomorrow,” Cantlay said.

Two years ago, the U.S. led 11-5 at Whistling Straits before cruising to a 19-9 victory. No team has rallied from more than a 10-6 deficit, but the U.S. only needs to reach 14 points to retain the Cup. In both 1999 and 2012, the winning side earned 8 ½ points in Sunday singles.

The U.S. showed some life winning the first two matches, but the Euros bounced back to win the third match and inch closer to extending the U.S. losing streak on European soil, which dates to 1993. It looked as if it would be a split of the session. That is until Cantlay’s heroics.

“Feels like we have momentum and we go kind of into the locker room laughing a little bit which just feels good,” Max Homa said.

Here’s a recap of all four matches.

Ryder Cup: Tournament hub | Photos | Fans

Match 1: Sam Burns-Collin Morikawa 4 and 3 over Ludvig Aberg-Viktor Hovland

Team USA golfer Sam Burns and Team USA golfer Collin Morikawa celebrate as they walk off the 9th green during day two fourballs round for the 44th Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa took out some of the U.S. team’s frustrations on one of Europe’s best teams this week.

Burns and Morikawa demolished Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg in the first match of Saturday’s fourballs session, 5 and 4, to give the U.S. a bit of momentum.

“At the start seeing red on that first hole was very important for us,” Morikawa said. “I’m glad we got that started.”

Earlier in the day, Hovland and Aberg secured a big scalp in beating world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka 9 and 7. This match wasn’t quite as one-sided but it was still won in rather convincing fashion.

Sam Burns on his own won four of the first six holes to grab a 3-up lead for the U.S. Burns even cupped his hand to his ear and challenged the partisan crowd to make more noise.

Then it was Morikawa’s turn as he made birdie at Nos. 9 and 11 and an eagle at 12 to stretch the lead to 6 up through 12. The U.S. was on the verge of victory at 13 but Morikawa lipped out a short putt, and the U.S. had to wait until tying the 15th to close out the match.

Match 2: Brian Harman-Max Homa 2 and 1 over Tommy Fleetwood-Nicolai Hojgaard

Team USA golfer Brian Harman and Team USA golfer Max Homa walk off the 9th green during day two fourballs round for the 44th Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Harman and Max Homa tried to singlehandedly keep the U.S. from getting dusted at the 44th Ryder Cup. The duo won the first full point for the American side in Saturday foursomes and earned the team’s second full point too, defeating Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard, 2 and 1.

Homa did much of the heavy lifting by winning three of the first six holes with birdies on his own ball to assume a 3 up lead. Harman chipped in with a birdie at No. 9 to stretch the lead to a match-best 4 up. Fleetwood won No. 10 with a birdie but any comeback bid was thwarted by another Homa win – this time with an eagle at 12.

“I was riding him,” Harman said. “The weight isn’t bad but the spurs sure were hell.”

Hojgaard won his only hole of the match at 14 with a birdie. It looked like the Euros might claw closer at 15 but Homa holed out from a bunker to tie the hole. Fleetwood chipped in for eagle at 16 to prolong the match but the Americans took care of business with a par at 17.

Match 3: Robert MacIntyre-Justin Rose 3 and 2 over Jordan Spieth-Justin Thomas

Team Europe golfer Justin Rose and Team Europe golfer Robert MacIntyre fist bump on the 9th green during day two fourballs round for the 44th Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

The reputation of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth as the U.S. dynamic duo took a hit this week as they struggled to a record of 0-2-1 in team play. On Saturday afternoon, they were downed 3 and 2 at the hands of Robert MacIntyre and Justin Rose.

It was a back-and-forth affair from the start in this tussle between the veteran Ryder Cupper Rose and first-timer MacIntyre. Spieth struck first blood with a 7-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fourth hole. But Rose answered with a birdie at six. Thomas put the U.S. back in front with a birdie at No. 7 but the U.S. tandem went into a birdie drought and Rose won Nos. 9 and 10 to give Europe the lead and MacIntyre added to it with a win at 13. Rose brought a veteran poise, guiding the youngster from Scotland and making key par putts at Nos. 14 and 16 to secure the win.

Match 4: Patrick Cantlay-Wyndham Clark 1 up over Matt Fitzpatrick-Rory McIlroy

Patrick Cantlay must have ice in his veins.

The American, who partnered with Wyndham Clark, birdied the final two holes to flip their match and give the U.S. a much-needed full point and a big boost to the belief that they can pull off a remarkable comeback on Sunday.

Two years after Rory McIlroy wound up in tears after another loss on Saturday morning at Whistling Straits, the Northern Irishman poured in a birdie putt to win the 14th hole and pumped his fist.

“C’mon!” he exclaimed.

It was vintage McIlroy, but he and his partner, Matt Fitzpatrick, failed to apply the knock out punch. One day after Fitzpatrick carried the load, McIlroy handled winning the fourth hole by walking in an 8-foot birdie putt and sinking that big putt at 14.

Cantlay refused to go down, holing a clutch putt at 16, sticking his approach inside 10 feet at 17 and rolling in the birdie putt to tie the match and then after catching a flyer on his pitch, he sank a 40-foot putt for an improbable victory for the U.S. side.

McIlroy still had a chance to hole his birdie putt and asked Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava, who was waving his hat after Cantlay’s long-range putt dropped, to move. The incident left a sour taste in McIlroy’s mouth.

“Just fuel for the fire tomorrow,” he said.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.