Europe extend Ryder Cup lead over USA to seven points

golf30 September 2023 10:07| © AFP
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Viktor Hovland , Ludvig Aberg @ Getty images

Europe stretched their lead over the United States to 9.5-2.5 on Saturday as Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg broke the record for the biggest foursomes win in Ryder Cup history.


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The Scandinavian pair thumped Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka 9 and 7 to give the hosts a dream start to the morning session in Rome, building on a 6.5-1.5 lead from day one.

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood closed out a 2 and 1 win over Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth before an inspired Max Homa and Brian Harman clinched the Americans' first full point, seeing off Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka 4 and 2.

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton secured a dramatic 2 and 1 victory against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay to ensure Europe won a third straight session.

Norway's Hovland and Swedish sensation Aberg beat the previous record foursomes winning margin set in 1979.

Hovland and Aberg won nine of the 11 holes played, with the other two halved in the alternate shot format.

The previous biggest win in Ryder Cup foursomes was Americans Tom Kite and Hale Irwin's 7 and 6 success against Ken Brown and Des Smyth 44 years ago.

USA skipper Zach Johnson would have expected his star pairing of world No 1 Scheffler and five-time major champion Koepka to help kickstart a fightback after a disastrous first day.

Instead, they played the first three holes in five over par and fell seven-down through the front nine.

The match finished in miserable fashion for Scheffler and Koepka as they hacked multiple shots over the 11th green before an inevitable concession, which left a dejected Scheffler with his head in his hands at the side of the green.

McIlroy and Fleetwood made it two wins from two foursomes matches together as Spieth struggled.

Homa and Harman gave the US hope of halving the session with an incredible burst, playing the first seven holes of the front nine in seven under par.

Cantlay and Schauffele moved to all-square with three holes left after being 3-down with seven to play.

But Hatton curled home a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th green before Rahm hit his iron shot on the par-three 17th to within a couple of inches.