Europe require 4.5 points to win back the Ryder Cup after the afternoon foursomes points were shared at Le Golf National outside Paris on Saturday, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Thomas Bjorn was left to ponder his best strategy for his 12-man singles lineup after watching his side hold on to their advantage after surviving a mini American fightback.
In the end, the fight was left too late and without enough gusto as Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose proved to be too strong for the big-hitting power duo of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka. The European pair were 2-up with four to play but required a number of clutch putts before Stenson calmly rolled in his par attempt at the 17th to seal a 2 & 1 win.
That point came after Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood notched up their fourth point of the campaign. Once again, Tiger Woods was on the receiving end as his miserable team record worsened with Bryson DeChambeau suffering his second defeat.
If Friday’s foursomes whitewash was Europe’s first in 29 years, the European pair added their name to the record books as only the second combination to go 4-0 at this point. They are the first Europeans to the feat and join Americans Wadkins/Nelson (1979) as the only pairs to achieve the magic number and it couldn’t have been done in more commanding fashion after they romped to a 5 & 4 win after reaching the 10th tee 5-up.
Woods and DeChambeau found a glimpse of their game and won two holes in a row but that spark was promptly extinguished as Fleetwood and Molinari once again delighted the crowd with wins at the 12th and 14th.
If Bjorn has to work out his strategy for his 12-man lineup to gain the 4.5 points needed for victory, his counterpart will need to figure out who can stand up to the task of matching the Englishman and his equalling impressive Italian.
Perhaps Jim Furyk’s answer lies in Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas after they added their second win of the 2018 competition by claiming the scalps of Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy. The young Americans were 2-down after two but turned 2-up after raising their games before ending as 4 & 3 victors with Spieth pumping his chest a la Poulter as he wrapped up a vital point.
Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson secured Team USA’s second point of the session as they did enough to consign Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren to a 3 & 2 loss.