The United States is off to a fast start in the 42nd Ryder Cup. The biennial event is being held on continental Europe for only the 2nd time. France is hosting the 2018 matches at Le Golf National on the Albatros Course in Guyancourt, just to the southwest of Paris. Fans crowded the first tee to watch the international stars of golf tee off.
Friday morning’s first pairing teed off at 2:10 am Eastern Time or 8:10 in Paris. The matchups were as follows.
- Brooks Koepka & Tony Finau (USA) vs. Justin Rose & Jon Rahm (Eur)
- Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy & Thorbjorn Olesen (EUR)
- Jordan Spieth & Justin Thomas (USA) vs. Paul Casey & Tyrrell Hatton (EUR)
- Patrick Reed & Tiger Woods (USA) vs. Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood (EUR)
Fourball is the format for the first 4 matches of the day. With the best score of the playing pair counting as the team score.
Brooks Koepka & Tony Finau (USA) vs. Justin Rose & Jon Rahm (Eur)
Koepka and Finau trailed Rose and Rahm by 3 holes after the first 9. Koepka’s drive on the 5th hole hit a spectator. She was struck in the face, near the eye socket, and bled profusely. Koepka apologized but appeared shaken, the woman was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Koepka got his game together to birdie 11 and 13. Rose answered for the Europeans by birdieing the 12, so the Americans still trailed by a hole with 5 to play. On the Par 3 16th, it appeared Finau tee shot was headed for the water short of the green. Miraculously, his ball struck a piling and bounced onto the green a few feet from the hole. Finau made birdie to square the match. A par on 18 won the match for the U.S. as the best Rose and Rahm could muster was a bogey.
Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy & Thorbjorn Olesen (EUR)
This match was a blowout for the Americans. McIlroy and Olesen won the Par 3, 8th hole with a 3 as the U.S. carded a bogey. Then Johnson and Fowler birdied 5 of the next 8 holes to take the win 4 up with 2 to play.
Jordan Spieth & Justin Thomas (USA) vs. Paul Casey & Tyrrell Hatton (EUR)
In the most hotly contested match of the morning, it took a 9 under par score by Spieth and Thomas to defeat the European team of Casey and Hatton. The Americans won holes 1, 5, and 7 to go 3 up after the first 9. The Europeans took holes 11, 12, and 13 to even the match 5 to play. A birdie by Thomas on the 15th put the U.S. up a hole and they held on to win to give the Americans a 3-0 match lead.
Patrick Reed & Tiger Woods (USA) vs. Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood (EUR)
The two teams traded blows in what was a close match early. The Europeans pulled away on the back nine with 5 wins on the last 7 holes to take the match 3 up with 1 to play. Still, the Americans were pleased to finish off the morning with a 3-1 lead heading into the afternoon foursomes.
Foursomes at the Ryder Cup feature 2 golfers hitting 1 ball. Teammates alternate teeing off and then alternate shots until the hole is completed. The matchups for Friday afternoon are as follows.
- Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler (USA) vs. Henrik Stenson & Justin Rose (EUR)
- Bubba Watson & Webb Simpson (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy & Ian Poulter (EUR)
- Phil Mickelson & Bryson DeChambeau (USA) vs. Sergio Garcia & Alex Noren (EUR)
- Justin Thomas & Jordan Spieth (USA) vs. Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood (EUR)
The enthusiasm of the morning matches faded Friday afternoon as the U.S took a drubbing.
Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler (USA) vs. Henrik Stenson & Justin Rose (EUR)
Stenson and Rose were 5 up before Johnson and Fowler even won a hole. Wins for the Americans on holes 12 and 13 were too little, too late. The match was closed out 3 up with 2 to play.
Bubba Watson & Webb Simpson (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy & Ian Poulter (EUR)
Watson and Simpson won 2 of the first 3 holes. Then McIlory and Poulter took 4 wins in a row on holes 6 through 9. One birdie from the Americans did little to stem the tide. Another match win for Europe, 4 up with 2 to play.
Suddenly the competition is tied 3-3 with 2 matches yet to be settled to close out Day 1.
Phil Mickelson & Bryson DeChambeau (USA) vs. Sergio Garcia & Alex Noren (EUR)
The match featuring Mickelson and DeChambeau was an even bigger disaster for the U.S. After going 7 down after 9 holes it was virtually over. The Americans managed to win 1 hole but were closed out 5 down with 4 holes to play.
Justin Thomas & Jordan Spieth (USA) vs. Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood (EUR)
More of the same in the final match of the day as Molinari and Fleetwood completed the afternoon sweep for the Europeans. Winning with the identical margin of 5 up with 4 holes to play.
After leading 3-1 to finish the day trailing 5-3 is a huge disappointment for the U.S. Squad. But, tomorrow is another day. Saturday’s pairings for the morning fourball matches are as follows.
- Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau vs. Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia
- Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler vs. Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton
- Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed vs. Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood
- Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas vs. Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm
Starting times are the same as Friday. Follow The Lasco Press for continuing coverage of the 2018 Ryder Cup.