Europe move within FIVE points of Ryder Cup victory after crushing the Americans in morning foursomes with Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler humiliated by record defeat amid rumours of SPLIT in US camp
- Europe established a commanding 9.5-2.5 lead after Saturday foursomes
- American disintegration continued in Rome with Europe’s golfers imperious
- CLICK HERE to follow the afternoon fourballs with Mail Sport’s live blog
Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler were humiliated on Saturday morning as they suffered the worst beating in Ryder Cup history.
Scheffler was later seen in tears after he and fellow world No 1 Koepka went down nine and seven to the young Scandinavian pairing of Viktor Hovland and debutant Ludvig Aberg.
It was the precursor to another strong showing for Team Europe, who went into lunch leading 9.5-2.5, just five points away from outright victory.
With suggestions of fractures within the visitors’ team, they did at least have the consolation of a first victory, courtesy of Max Homa and Brian Harman, and a little more resistance shown elsewhere.
Any turnaround will have to be dramatic, however, if that is to mean anything.
Scottie Scheffler was reduced to tears after suffering a humiliating 9&7 defeat alongside Brooks Koepka to Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg in the Ryder Cup foursomes
Ludvig Aberg and Viktor Hovland were imperious as they crushed Koepka and Scheffler 9&7
It was a record margin of foursomes victory over 18 holes in the history of the Ryder Cup
With six Majors between them, the prestige US pair in the second match out was expected to set the tone of a fightback, but instead Scheffler and Koepka capitulated in the face of an excellent display from their Norwegian/Swedish opposition.
As good as Hovland and Aberg were, the Americans were abysmal, with the only possible excuse being the bug that is said to have been going around their team room.
They got off to a disastrous start, going five over for the first three holes and losing the third despite the Europeans posting a bogey. LIV golf’s Koepka, in particular, appeared disinterested and repeatedly spat at the ground.
On the ninth he hit his tee shot into the water and their round completely fell apart at the end when, on the eleventh, Scheffler sprayed his drive into the rough and uttered a loud expletive.
His partner then hit long, and when two more shots went through the green on either side they had to concede the match.
There was more pride shown elsewhere, particularly from Homa and Harman, with the latter displaying the sort of grit that served him so well in winning at Hoylake this summer.
Jon Rahm and Tyrell Hatton made it three further European victories on the second morning
Max Homa and Brian Harman (right) react to a missed putt – but at least they won their match
American captain Zach Johnson and vice-captain Steve Stricker look on dejected
EUROPE 9.5-2.5 UNITED STATES
European pairs first
McIlroy & Fleetwood beat Thomas & Spieth 2&1
Hovland & Aberg beat Scheffler and Koepka 9&7
Lowry & Straka lost to Homa & Harman 4&2
Rahm & Hatton beat Cantlay & Schauffele 2&1
Having been tied at the turn against Shane Lowry and Austria’s Sepp Straka, they reeled off two birdies and an eagle to put themselves in total command. They finished it off four and two on the 16th to register a first full point of the match.
One of the Europeans’ assets to date has been their ability to make fast starts – something they trained for in playing repeated three-hole matches.
That was exhibited by Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood, who emerged onto the first tee with their arms around each other and immediately raced to three up after three.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth showed resistance, however, by winning holes 13 and 14 to cut the deficit to one before the Irishman drained a 20-foot putt to slap them back down again. McIlroy finally sealed it on the 17th with a putt of similar length.
While they have been branded as the potentially angry pair, Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton continued to channel their irascible temperaments positively together.
Patrick Cantlay wasn’t wearing a Team USA cap amid suggestions of a split in the camp
Tommy Fleetwood and Rory Mcilroy continued their brilliant weekend with another victory
They went three up after eight against the high octane pairing of world No 5 and six Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
On another morning of bright sunshine Cantlay was notably not wearing a team cap, with the suggestion being that he was doing it as a protest against the American players not being paid for their participation.
Yet they mounted a rearguard action on the back nine to be tied with three to play.
It was then that Schauffele missed two straightforward putts on successive greens, sealing a two and one win for the Europeans that is likely to prove decisive.
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