Europe deliver a sucker punch to leave USA reeling in the Ryder Cup

After a tardy start in the morning fourballs, Team Europe rose from 1-3, producing a blue wave in the foursomes to gain a 5-3 edge in the Ryder Cup

Justin Rose exults in joy during the foursomes in the Ryder Cup - European Tour Image

European Tour Release – 29 September 2018: Team Europe rallied from a 3-1 deficit to claim a clean sweep for the first time ever in a Ryder Cup foursomes session and lead 5-3 going into the second day at Le Golf National, in Paris, France.

An incredible fightback, led by Ryder Cup veterans Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, saw Europe sweep a session for the first time since 1989, a rare feat that they have achieved just twice, both times in fourball sessions.

During this morning’s fourballs, the United States won the first three matches of the day as Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau beat Justin Rose and John Rahm 1 Up, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler defeated Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen 4&2, while Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas overcame Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton 1 Up.

The shining light for Captain Thomas Bjørn’s European side was the performance of Open Champion Francesco Molinari and 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood. The pair defeated Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods 3&1, avoiding the possibility of a whitewash in the first session as seen at Hazeltine in 2016.

Bjørn made the decision to send out the experienced pair of Rose and Stenson first in the afternoon foursomes session, in what would be their seventh match together, against Johnson and Fowler. They won Europe’s second point of the day as they defeated the Americans 3&2.

Moments later, Europe’s third and fourth points of the day were secured with McIlroy and his afternoon partner Ian Poulter defeating Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 4&2, with Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren beating Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau 5&4.

Molinari and Fleetwood, returning to action for the afternoon session, defeated Thomas and Spieth 5&4, with Fleetwood becoming the first European Rookie since Garcia in 1999 to win both their games on the first day of a Ryder Cup.

The duo will play their third match together on Saturday morning in the fourball sessions, drawn against Woods and Reed.


Saturday Morning Fourball Session (all times as in Paris)  
Match One – 08:10

Rory McIlroy

Sergio Garcia



Brooks Koepka

Tony Finau

Match Two – 08:25

Paul Casey

Tyrrell Hatton


Dustin Johnson

Rickie Fowler

Match Three – 08:40

Francesco Molinari

Tommy Fleetwood


Tiger Woods

Patrick Reed

Match Four – 08:55

Ian Poulter

Jon Rahm


Justin Thomas

Jordan Spieth

Captain’s Quotes

Thomas Bjørn: “It was a bit of a roller coaster ride, to be honest. We were obviously disappointed with this morning. I think a couple of guys came in and felt like they couldn’t get out of the matches what they wanted. There was a good feeling about going out and trying to do something this afternoon, pretty much the way before I got on the golf course, to be honest. So it was a great afternoon.

“This morning session could easily have finished 2-2, but it could also have been a whitewash the other way, and obviously that makes a difference; that [Fleetwood & Molinari] stand up in the end and holes the putts on 15, 16, 17 to win the match when it really matters. It gives them belief, but also gives their teammates hope.”

“We got those crowds behind us. We got them going.  They started believing, and then they went through the whole golf course, and then it seemed like nothing could go wrong.  That was kind of the feeling that you got through the day and through the afternoon, and we hold putts; the Americans missed putts, and that’s kind of where it all went this afternoon.”


Jim Furyk: “We got the momentum in the morning, out 3-1. Europe flipped it quickly and got some unbelievable momentum in the afternoon for 4-0. So two totally different sides in the morning and the afternoon.

“You know, you’ve got to look at it, we played for eight points so far out of 28. The event’s still pretty young. We’ve got one more team format tomorrow and then the singles. Eight out of 28, you know, pretty small percentage of this golf tournament been played.

“In medal play, you can shoot 68 and 78, and you’re down ten shots and you’ve got to try to make that up for the next three days, right. In match play, you can make a 10 on a hole and the other guy makes a 3 and you only lose one hole. You can make that up the very next hole. Kind of the same thing with these matches, you lose 6&5, you lose 2&1, it’s still the same result, correct?

“We have to shore things up, and I’m guessing we’ll switch things up in the afternoon tomorrow. We’ve already been thinking about that.”

Fast Facts

  • This is the first time that Europe has won all four points in a foursomes session
  • Europe’s biggest ever total win (in holes) in a single session. Today Europe won by 17 – previous record 15 in 1985
  • The last time Europe won all four points in one session was in 1989, at The Belfry
  • In 1989 Europe trailed the Americans 3-1 after the first session and finished the day 5-3 ahead
  • During the last seven foursomes sessions in European Ryder Cups (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018), the Europeans have won 20.5 points – the United States have won 7.5 points
  • With his two wins today Tommy Fleetwood becomes the first European rookie to win their two opening matches in a Ryder Cup since Sergio Garcia in 1999
  • Today Fleetwood became just the third European rookie to win two matches on the opening day of a Ryder Cup. The other two are Garcia (1999) and José María Olazábal (1987)
  • With his victory today, Sergio Garcia overtakes Seve Ballesteros as the most successful Spaniard in Ryder Cup history with 23.5 points
  • Garcia also joins Colin Montgomerie on 23.5 points – joint third in the European standings. He’s now one behind Langer and two behind Faldo

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