Ryder Cup: U.S. takes commanding 9-3 lead over Europe

Ryder Cup: U.S. takes commanding 9-3 lead over Europe

The Ryder Cup on this windswept course is rounding into a blowout.

Team USA built on its commanding lead at Whistling Straits on Saturday by winning three of four alternating-shot matches in the morning to widen its advantage over Europe to 9-3. That set up an afternoon session of four-ball matches that could essentially put a victory on ice.

Team Europe has won four of the last five Ryder Cup events despite a distinct advantage for the United States in terms of world rankings.

The U.S. pairings of Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, and Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay collected victories Saturday morning. Europe’s lone point came when world No. 1 Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia posted a 3-and-1 win over former college teammates Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

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“You have to keep reminding yourself, there’s still a lot of points left on the board, and we still have to stay focused and just do our job when we are out there,” said Morikawa, who, along with Johnson, beat Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton 2 and 1.

The Americans were four holes up at the turn but the Englishmen briefly cut the lead to one when, on No. 14, Casey drained a wedge from 105 yards for an eagle. But Hatton missed a five-foot par putt on the next hole, and Johnson and Morikawa pulled away for good.

Thomas and Spieth, the only Americans to lose on the first day, fell behind by as much as three to Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger on the front nine before rallying down the stretch. The Americans tied it on the 14th hole, then won three of the final four to collect a 2-up victory.

“Jordan and I definitely didn’t have our best stuff,” Thomas said, “but maybe [it] makes up a bit for yesterday. We just made some of those putts we needed to get the momentum going.”

Schauffele and Cantlay were tied with Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick after eight holes but pulled away with a birdie on nine, and the Europeans had back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11.

“I think we know every match is going to be a fight,” Cantlay said. “Even if we lose a couple holes, we know that’s how it’s going to be. And that’s how it felt today. It felt like our momentum was going to come, and then it did right in the middle of the round, and that stretch 7 through 11 was awesome.”

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