European Tour Release – 28 September 2018: European rookie Tommy Fleetwood said nothing compares to the Ryder Cup atmosphere after he and partner Francesco Molinari beat in-form Tiger Woods and Ryder Cup stalwart Patrick Reed 3 and 1 in the Friday fourballs to put Europe’s first point on the board.
Thomas Bjørn’s side trail 3-1 after a roller coaster opening session at Le Golf National saw the United States snatch three points.
Things could have been so different for Bjørn’s men, who led in three of the four matches at one stage in the morning before a series of setbacks saw the tide turn in America’s favour.
World Number Two Justin Rose and debutant Jon Rahm twice surrendered a two-hole lead over Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau as they lost by one hole in the top match, while Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen held a one-hole advantage as they walked off the eighth green before Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler won five of the next eight holes to cruise to a 4 and 2 victory.
And Americans Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were made to work hard for their point as they beat Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton by one hole in a topsy-turvy match.
Casey and Hatton had looked set for a heavy defeat when Spieth and Thomas took an early three-hole lead thanks to five birdies in the first seven holes from Spieth. But the English pair won the 11th, 12th and 13th to get back on level terms before Thomas’ birdie at the 15th clinched the win.
But there was some good news for Europe as the huge crowds witnessed Italian Molinari and Fleetwood fight back to beat Woods and Reed.
Despite taking an early lead, Fleetwood and Molinari found themselves two down after ten holes when Woods’ birdie at the ninth was followed by Reed’s at the next. But Molinari dragged the European pair level with birdies at the 11th and 12th before back-to-back gains from Fleetwood at the 15th and 16th put Europe two up.
“There is nothing like it, and I can’t wait to get out and do it again” – Tommy Fleetwood
And with Woods and Reed both failing to find the 17th green, Molinari rolled in from 15 feet for another birdie to win the match.
After securing victory in his first-ever Ryder Cup match, Fleetwood said: “We had that little tough stretch in the middle of the round – I lost three holes out of four – it’s easy for it to go flat, but as soon as Fran holed that putt on 11, things changed straight away and the crowd carried us through it all the way.
“And there is nothing like it. And that’s just my first morning experience. Guys have done this ten times. “There is nothing like it, and I can’t wait to get out and do it again.”
The win saw Molinari get his first full point in his third Ryder Cup and the 35 year old was thrilled to finally get off the mark.
He said: “Finally. Finally. It’s been nice. It’s been a really good game.
“We played both really well. We had a couple of moments where we had to dig in but we both stayed positive.”