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Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia lead by example as Europe targets unlikely response

By on September 25, 2021 0

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia once again set an example as Europe tried to stage an unlikely retaliation to keep the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

With three of the five playing sessions completed, Rahm and Garcia remained the only European pair to win a game, with the Spanish duo recovering from losing the first three holes of the quartets on Saturday to beat Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

Close defeats by Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger and Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick secured the United States their third straight session 3-1 to take their overall lead to 9-3.

That meant Steve Stricker’s side only needed five and a half more of the 16 available to claim the trophy, but Padraig Harrington’s side at least showed signs of being ready for the fight. in the four afternoon bullets.

Rahm and Garcia quickly gained three points over Koepka and Jordan Spieth, with Hatton and Shane Lowry one point after eight holes against Tony Finau and Harris English.

In the final game of the day, Rory McIlroy – who had been excluded from a session for the first time in his career – and Ian Poulter were all tied against Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa after five.

Europe’s perilous position could have been even worse if Rahm and Garcia hadn’t reversed the foursomes’ opener with brilliant style, with Garcia winning for a birdie in the ninth and also making an eight-foot hole. the 12th to go forward for the first time.

The high-quality contest was then almost marred by an incident involving Koepka on the 15th, where the four-time major winner sought relief from a bad lie, saying there was an obstacle to his follow-up.

After being rejected by a referee, Koepka asked for a second opinion but didn’t get the response he wanted and angrily said to officials: “If I break my wrist, it’s on you two ** ****. “

Koepka, who injured himself from hitting a tree root and withdrew from the Tour Championship earlier this month, finally took the hit and even found the green, but a stunning approach from Garcia’s next was set up a conceded eagle and the match ended on the next.

The victory was Garcia’s 24th overall, edging out Nick Faldo and taking his points record to 27.5.

Hovland and Wiesberger took three leads after six holes against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth before losing on two holes, while Casey and Hatton reduced a deficit from four holes to one when Casey lost 107 yards to an eagle. the 14th, for bogey the next.

Westwood and Fitzpatrick’s 2 and 1 losses to Xander Sc Chaudele and Patrick Cantlay meant Westwood had lost their last six Ryder Cup games and Fitzpatrick had yet to win any of their four in 2016 and this year.

Harrington had previously defended his decision to let former world number one McIlroy out of a session for the first time in his career.

McIlroy had played 26 straight games since making his debut at Celtic Manor in 2010, but lost twice on Matchday 1 – alongside Poulter and Lowry – without even reaching the 16th hole.

Rory McIlroy (left) and Shane Lowry on the 10th hole on day two of the Ryder Cup (Anthony Behar / PA)

“Rory, we need him for singles,” Harrington told Sky Sports. “Pushing him out this morning, playing him five times, that would be terrible. It is clear that you will see him this afternoon.

“If we’re going to win tomorrow, we’re going to need a big day in singles. We have to keep this in mind.

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