The Latest: US team roars back to take 3-point lead
CHASKA, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on the Ryder Cup (all times local):
Europe will have to come back from a big deficit in Sunday’s singles to hold on to the Ryder Cup once again.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reid finished off the last match of the day on the 17th green to cap a good afternoon for the U.S. team and give the Americans a 9 1/2-6 1/2 lead going into the final singles matches.
The U.S. team won three of the afternoon four ball matches, helped in one when Lee Westwood missed a short putt on the 18th hole that would have given he and Danny Willett a half in their match against J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore.
Europe has won the last three Ryder Cups, including a 2012 win in Chicago when the U.S. led 10-6 going into the singles play.
The Europeans would need to win 7 1/2 points in the 12 singles matches to retain the cup.
The U.S. team gave up the first point of the afternoon, but turned stingy in a hurry.
Phil Mickelson, playing with Matt Kuchar, got the point back by rolling in a short birdie putt at the 17th to close out a 2-and-1 win over Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer. Soon after, Lee Westwood missed a short birdie putt at No. 18 that would have enabled the Englishman and Danny Willett to gain a halve in their match against J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore.
The U.S. led 8 1/2-6 1/2 with Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth 3-up over Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson and assured of at least a half point in that match.
Rory McIlroy got the best of a heckler, then paired with rookie Thomas Pieters to do the same to the U.S. duo of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, giving Europe the first point of the afternoon four-ball session.
Pieters sealed the 3-and-1 win with a short birdie putt. It was McIlroy’s third consecutive match win and drew Europe even at 6 1/2-6 1/2.
Earlier, he got into an exchange with a fan between the seventh green and eighth tee. After officials came over and McIlroy identified him, the fan was removed from the grounds.
Patrick Reed has been one of the stars of the show for the Americans so far at this Ryder Cup.
Playing again with Jordan Spieth, Reed hit one of the best shots of the tournament to give the duo a 1-up lead at the one-third mark of their four-ball match against European power couple Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.
Reed dropped his approach onto the sixth green just right. The ball rolled back perfectly and plopped into the cup for an eagle and a second straight hole won for the U.S. pair.
Reed erupted in celebration, pointing a double-arm pump at the crowd behind the ropes and exchanging hard hand slaps and fist bumps with his partner and their caddies.
Further up the scoreboard, Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters have taken a commanding lead in their best-ball battle with Americans Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. McIlroy and Peters were four holes ahead at the midway mark, as the European tandem took the turn for the back nine.
All four of the afternoon four-ball matches are underway. The Europeans own an early edge in the first match with Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters taking a 2-up lead to the No. 6 hole over Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.
What happened on the fifth hole was hard to believe.
Koepka hit a drive off the tee that strayed to the left into the rough, bounced once and onto the back of a spectator standing just inside the ropes. The ball astoundingly stayed stuck there, lodging between the man’s back and the top of his backpack.
The story only got stranger from there. The man’s identity? None other than the father of Pieters, according to the NBC announcers.
Koepka had to take a drop, and the Americans were able to make birdie on the par-4.
Team Europe has crept closer on the strength of a furious Spaniard rally to finish foursome play.
Fellow countrymen Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello halved their match with Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, and Team USA has a slim 6½ to 5½ lead entering the afternoon four-ball matches.
The Reed-Spieth tandem took a four-hole lead to the 13th tee box, before posting three straight bogeys. They squared the 18th hole to preserve the tie, but the Europeans won two of the other three matches to put the pressure on the Americans for the next session.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed will play all five matches for the Americans. That’s a departure from the last time Davis Love III was captain and made sure everyone sat out at least one match.
Love also broke up the Brandt Snedeker-Brooks Koepka tandem after they were undefeated in two matches.
Koepka and Dustin Johnson will take on Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters, who are 2-0 in their matches.
J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore will go up against Danny Willett and Lee Westwood, a match with four players who have yet to contribute a point.
Phil Mickelson is going back out in the afternoon, teaming with Matt Kuchar against Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer.
Spieth and Reed face Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, a rematch from fourballs Friday that the Europeans won.
Rose, Stenson, McIlroy, Pieters and Garcia will be playing all five matches for Europe.
With Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth posting birdies on five of the first seven holes for the Americans in the fourth foursome match of the morning, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello were forced to play catch-up from the second hole on.
The highlight for the Spaniard duo came on the fifth hole. Garcia’s tee shot sailed into the crowd — and landed square in one of the course marshal’s pockets.
Garcia and his human hazard shared a laugh, and the Europeans still managed to make birdie.
But the Reed-Spieth duo, which vanquished the formidable European pairing of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson with a 3-and-2 victory on Friday, still held a 2-up lead with three holes to go.
Rory McIlroy finally got a victory over Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson had never lost any of three Ryder Cup matches he played against McIlroy, but Lefty didn’t have much of a chance Saturday morning in foursomes. McIlroy and Thomas Pieters won three of the opening five holes. McIlroy said he wanted to win even more because Mickelson had his number.
The American got within 1 down with four holes to play until Fowler missed too many key putts.
McIlroy says he and Pieters were never meant to play foursomes, never practiced together and even flipped to see who would tee off on which holes. It worked. They are undefeated in two matches.
The Americans are leading 2-0 when it comes to shanks.
Rickie Fowler was in a back bunker on the par-3 fourth hole when he shanked it through the green and into the rough. Fowler and Phil Mickelson lost that hole with a bogey and fell 2 down to Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters. Europe was 1 up through 13.
Brooks Koepka shanked one from the left rough across the 11th fairway. He and Brandt Snedeker were all square with Henrik Stenson and Matt Fitzpatrick.
One thing was clear: The foursome sessions were a lot tighter than when the Americans went 4-0 on Friday.
Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters are trying to ride their Ryder Cup momentum.
McIlroy took a bow when the opening day ended Friday, winning a big point that allowed Europe to crawl back to a 5-3 deficit against the Americans. They went right back out Saturday morning against Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson and have led the entire way. They were 1 up through 12 holes.
There probably was not going to be another American sweep in foursomes.
Halfway through the sessions, the Americans were up in one match, trailed two others and were tied in the fourth one. Fourballs in the afternoon were to follow, with everything pointing toward Sunday singles to decide the Ryder Cup.