Europe lead 10-6 as Fleetwood, Molinari stay flawless amid USA fightback

Posted September 30, 2018

The home side was the underdog coming into the colourful, raucous team event, but took a stranglehold with a 3-1 victory in the fourballs and two foursomes wins on a sizzling Saturday at Le Golf National outside the French capital.

Tiger Woods was "p****d off" to lose all three of his matches to Europe's star pair Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood.

Bjorn had opted to stick two of his most experienced men out first, looking to continue that momentum from Friday afternoon, and birdies apiece on three and four had them two up early on. By the turn, they were 2 UP.

And his play seemed to suffer as he and Poulter lost four of the next five holes against Spieth and Thomas - and didn't win another hole for the rest of the match before going down 4&3.

There was no such drama in match three as Molinari and Fleetwood - the first European rookie to claim four points from his first four matches - piled further misery on Woods.

Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter together on Ryder Cup weekend.

The US, seeking a first overseas win in 25 years, had the better of a topsy-turvy fourballs session, with Spieth particularly impressive when he and Thomas beat Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton 1-up.

"The Europeans played very good golf this afternoon on a hard setup and in hard conditions and we didn't play our best golf". McIlroy's chip from the fringes lipped out yet Garcia banged in his putt from range, piling pressure on the United States rookie that made him push his attempt left - back to four up when it could so easily have been two.

Both stuck their second shots on the par-four 15th into the water, and Finau finally found his range on 16 to make it a one-hole game.

After a dream afternoon on day one where Europe completed a historic whitewash, day two started just as well, moving to an 8-4 lead.

Nope, this 10-6 deficit heading into Sunday's 12 singles matches is on the collective group, and not just for their largely uninspired play.

"We've got a lot of work to do, but we've still got a chance", Simpson told Sky Sports. Team USA's players averaged more birdies per round and fewer putts per round than their European counterparts - but Team Europe is markedly more accurate off the tee.

Twice in the space of two matches, Spieth and Thomas had tamed Europe's talisman Poulter.

McIlroy added: "I think a big thing for us this week is resilience and persistence". But Spieth and Thomas are clearly viewed as one of the best American teams and need to play like it in order to get the Americans back into the competition.