PGA Release – 30 September 2018: Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari became the first European pairing in Ryder Cup history to win four matches out of four as Europe established a 10-6 lead at Le Golf National.
Thomas Bjørn’s team came into the second day with a 5-3 advantage after bouncing back from losing Friday’s fourballs session 3-1 to record the biennial contest’s first-ever whitewash in the afternoon foursomes.
Europe extended their lead by taking the morning fourballs 3-1 before the afternoon foursomes finished 2-2. Fleetwood and Molinari’s victory followed a 2 and 1 win for Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose over Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, while Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson beat Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren 3 and 2 and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were 4 and 3 winners against Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.
Open Champion Molinari and last year’s Race to Dubai winner Fleetwood showed just how strong their partnership is with a thumping 4 and 3 victory over Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed in the morning.
And they extended their perfect Ryder Cup record in the afternoon with a 5 and 4 foursomes victory over Woods and Bryson DeChambeau in the afternoon.
Fleetwood got the ball rolling in the afternoon when he stuck his approach to five feet at the first and Molinari lbirdied to put them one up, with the roles reversed at the second as Europe extended their lead in match three.
Pars at the sixth and eighth extended Molinari and Fleetwood’s lead and a gain at the ninth saw them turn five up, but DeChambeau and Woods responded to win the tenth and 11th with birdies.
Fleetwood stopped the rot by holing a ten footer at the 12th and when the Americans failed to match Europe’s birdie on the long 14th the contest was over.
Stenson and Rose continued their productive partnership with a tense victory in the afternoon’s top game.
Stenson almost put Europe in water at the first as Johnson and Koepka struck first, but Europe won the fourth and eighth to turn one up.
A par at the tenth extended Europe’s advantage, but America took the 12th only for Rose to hole from five feet at the 13th to restore a two-hole lead.
Koepka’s fine approach to two feet at the 15th reduced the gap, but a European par at the 17th proved good enough to avoid a trip down the 18th.
Simpson and Watson were excellent in overcoming Garcia and Noren, birdieing the first before a bizarre second hole was shared in triple bogey sixes. Garcia was the only player not to find water at the par three, but Europe still could not square the contest and the American pair won four more holes before the turn – three with birdies.
Garcia and Noren took the tenth with a par, but Simpson’s excellent approach at the 14th set up a birdie and despite Noren firing to tap-in range at the 16th, the United States matched Europe’s birdie to close out the match.
McIlroy and Poulter won the first two holes against an out-of-sorts Spieth and Thomas, but the Americans soon found their range and took four out of five holes from the fourth.
Thomas holed a 20 footer at the 11th and a gain on the 13th left the European pair with too much to do.
Earlier, Fleetwood and Molinari’s morning triumph had come as part of a record run of eight consecutive European points across three sessions.
Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey were a combined nine under par in their impressive 3 and 2 win against Johnson and Rickie Fowler, while Garcia and McIlroy beat Tony Finau and Koepka 2 and 1.
Thomas and Spieth stopped the rot in the anchor game with a 2 and 1 victory over Poulter and Jon Rahm.