Team Europe won all four matches in a session for the first time since 1989 to head into Saturday 5-3 ahead at the 42nd Ryder Cup, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Experience paved the way back for Thomas Bjorn’s Europe on Friday afternoon as his side took early control of the foursomes in blustery conditions.
The only match that saw red on the board was the second clash which saw Ian Poulter/Rory McIlroy take on Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson, one of the American team’s tried and trusted combinations and fresh off a morning’s rest. Poulter’s introduction into the 2018 edition was a waterball on the first and was two down through three before settling into the contest.
Europe then grabbed the initiative with Henrik Stenson joining Justin Rose in the first match of the session which got off to a slow start before the pair showed their class and made the turn 3UP against Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler, who came off a successful morning.
The Americans failed to find fairways and greens in regulation which helped Rose and Stenson work their way to a 5UP lead before a late fightback. That proved to be a case of too little, too late as Rose/Stenson took their record to five wins from seven outings as they put much-needed points on the board.
Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren enjoyed a perfect afternoon as they brushed aside Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson. The Americans struggled for consistency as the Europeans raced to a 7UP lead through the turn before Mickelson found some late signs of form but the horse had already bolted with Garcia and Noren chalking up a point with a resounding 5&4 win.
Poulter and McIlroy then put the finishing touches on their match against Watson/Simpson with the Northern Irishman slowly working his way into the contest but still battling to hole out.
With the first whitewash in 29 years on the cards, Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 5&4. The win helped the European combination maintain their 100% record after their earlier exploits against Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed.