GUIDONIA MONTECILIO, Italy — It took until 2:01 p.m. local time for America to take the lead in a match for the first time in the 44th Ryder Cup. The novelty of standing in the Italian sun had since worn off, with spectators huddled into small pockets of shade, various chants of “ole, ole, ole” breaking out amid crumpled beer cans and twisted plastic water bottles.
it was Justin Thomas Who eventually reddened a section of the scoreboard, after a morning session in which Europe dominated 4-0 and got off to a quick four-ball start. Thomas’ birdie on the par-4 sixth hole put a temporary halt to Neal’s attack, but there was no solid U.S. post in the afternoon session, with Europe taking Friday 6½-1½.
End the day with Justin Rose And Robert McIntyre saved a half point with two holes to play, meaning the only US contribution from day one in Rome was a three-way tie to match the largest lead seen in Ryder Cup history. And Europe looked to their big-name players: John Rahm, Victor Hovland And Rory McIlroyWho impressed all day.
“They are superstars,” the Europe captain said Luke Donald said “They’re studs. They’re three of the best four players in the world. You need superstars firing. They need to play well. Other than that, it’s really an uphill battle. They’ve stepped up and done what they need to do, and I’m very proud of them.” Proud.”
Europe will advance to Saturday with a 6½-1½ advantage over America, a score that even Donald could not have dreamed of when play began early Friday. But Europe will be wary of a US comeback and there are still 20 points up for grabs.
The US must make a quick start
The American team looked confused at times on Friday morning as Europe slotted every pressure putt, Marco Simone chipped in from all angles and stretched to an incredible lead. pair out Jack Johnson He looked — with the benefit of hindsight — unusually nonjudgmental, with a cunning Sam Barnes Struggle when leading off with Scotty Scheffler. The two are close friends, but they never clicked against Rahm and Hovland, who looked at home from the start.
Justin Thomas And Brooks Koepka At noon the factor brought back a bit of the fear of the day the villains fought, as they did Xander Schauffele and Colin Morikawa. Wyndham Clarke Aware of the need to close things and run fast on Saturday.
“We definitely need better days than today,” Clark said. “We’ve got to turn it around and keep it in our favor, if we can try to dominate the morning and the afternoon. So, you know, at least we got some points, but we’ve got a long way to go. Us.”
To do this, they went with the big hitters. Justin Thomas and Justin Spieth are linking up again to kick things off, Koepka and Scheffler are back together, Max Homa and Brian Herman paired up, and Schaffel and Patrick Cantley The anchor will be the leg.
Get rid of rust
Clarke’s comments that Europe will be “oil-drenched” and “psychologically depressed” by Sunday are currently being judged a touch ill-judged. Nine of the 12 on the U.S. team haven’t played since the FedEx Cup in late August, and instead of the European team tiring from their pre-Ryder Cup calendar, it was the U.S. that got rusty.
They just couldn’t find a putt in the morning session sliding left, right, up and down the hole. They struggled to hit the greens and the Europeans bounced.
On Saturday, they will have to readjust their radars, but others will have to realize the opportunity to be American heroes. Jordan Spieth, Colin Morikawa And Xander Schauffele Everyone struggled on Friday, though Koepka and Clark played with more consistency. Scheffler’s nirvana woes look to correct themselves Justin Thomas Getting something red on the board for the first time after two missed opportunities the first time. For those players there is a chance to bring some joy on Saturday.
John Rahm An ice bath is required
Rahm hit Europe’s first tee shot of the day on Friday and then almost 11 hours later saved a crucial half point when he chipped in on the last three holes with eagle, par, eagle. Nikolai Hojgaard First America’s Cup victory to hold off Scheffler and Koepka.
He was the hero of Europe in the early days and was inspired by the memory of the late Steve Ballesteros.
“I have to give Nicola props because here on 18, he basically gave me the freedom to go for it, and he told me to hit a putt, try to make it,” Rahm said. “And he said, ‘What do you do to save,’ right, ‘Do it to save.’ I don’t know if he would have made it that way, but I’m sure it went in.”
His confidence also helped his partners, with Hojgaard later paying tribute to “Rahmbo”. Rahm’s highlight reel from day one would include his 63-foot chip to steal the hole and eagle on the 16th on Friday afternoon, and then his 33-foot putt to save a tie on the 18th. He has a cult following in Marco Simone and has followed in the footsteps of some of the Spanish greats in this competition. He even got a rise out of Koepka, who was clearly annoyed by Rahm at some point on Friday.
“I mean, I want to hit a board and pout like Jon Rahm,” Koepka said. “But, you know, it is what it is. Act like kids. But we’re adults. We’re moving on.”
So, wrap Rahm in cotton wool and throw him in an ice bath; Europe needs more of the same on Saturday.
Europe must continue to trust the process
Donald’s Europe team put a huge emphasis on statistics for this year’s tournament, drawing on the expertise and side business of Edoardo Molinari. They looked at the algorithms and found that Europe performed better in the four ball than the four ball, so they changed the order for Friday and it paid off handsomely. They also look to statistics for help when choosing pairs.
What should develop again on Saturday is the All-Scandinavian combination of Hovland and Rookie Ludwig Aberg. They found common ground in the build-up to the tournament and even established a new language as they walked around the course on Friday.
“So he spoke Norwegian; I spoke Swedish,” Aberg later said. “It’s pretty much the same. I actually have two Norwegian roommates that I live with, so I’m used to the Norwegian language. But yeah, it’s a comfort.”
Whatever statistics and logic they are using, it is working. And Team Europe knows it has to start well on Saturday, because after a humbling day the USA will throw anything and everything at them.
“Obviously Team USA is going to get stronger and stronger and get stronger tomorrow,” Rose said. “There is no complacency here.
“We are going to fight for small margins there. I think Team Europe did an incredible job today fighting for that small margin on the last few holes, and that’s the difference on a day like today.
“There’s a lot of momentum. Momentum can be anything. It goes in waves, and we’ll definitely have to sleep sometimes in the next few days. But as long as we stay focused and plan, hopefully the team can perform.”
to be mentioned Matt Fitzpatrick. Heading into this year, he has lost all five Ryder Cup matches he has played. But Donald saw he had never played the four ball and thought he could play with McIlroy. Again the process was off, as Fitzpatrick went on a five-birdie tear in the first six holes on Friday afternoon.
Day 2 morning pairing
- Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy vs. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth
- Ludwig Aberg and Victor Hovland vs. Scotty Scheffler and Brooks Koepka
- Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka vs. Max Homa and Brian Herman
- Jon Rahm and Tyrell Hatton vs. Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay
Players to watch
Brooks Koepka: He was clearly ready for a fight on Friday and hurt after being robbed of a potential win by Rahm’s brilliance, so expect him to start Saturday at 100 mph.
Tommy Fleetwood: He only played in the Friday morning session, but stepping into the void left by Ian Poulter is a crowd favorite and someone who can turn matches on their head. He leads McIlroy on Saturday in a blockbuster match against Thomas and Spieth.