The quality of golf on the second day in the 41st Ryder Cup was of the highest standard as the two teams traded blows from start to finish. Here’s how the matches were won and lost at Hazeltine.
Rory McIlroy/Thomas Pieters bt Rickie Fowler/Phil Mickelson 4&2
As had been the case in their foursomes win on Friday, the Europeans gelled brilliantly. Pieters followed Fowler in for a birdie at the first and they quickly went three up helped by birdies at the second and fifth. Pieters rolled in a testing par putt at the seventh to retain that lead before the Americans, helped by a Mickelson birdie at the 10th, got back to within a hole with five to play. A poor putt from the same player at the 14th allowed Europe to go two up before Pieters made birdie from 15 feet at the next.
Brandt Snedeker/Brooks Koepka bt Henrik Stenson/Matthew Fitzpatrick 3&2
The Americans came out on top in this one despite having a shank and hitting just four fairways. Having been down from the first, Rose and debutant Fitzpatrick pulled it back to all square after 11 before the Americans were fortunate to escape with a half at the 12th after a shank from Koepka cannoned back into play off a tree. His next meaningful shot was more impressive, hitting a 4-iron close at the 253 yards at the 13th.
Justin Rose/Chris Wood bt Jimmy Walker/Zach Johnson one hole
After halving the first six holes, Europe drew first blood in this match when a brilliant approach from Rose allowed Wood, on his debut, to make a hole-winning birdie at the seventh. Wood, with Scot Mark Crane on his bag, then rolled in another birdie putt at the 11th to double Europe’s advantage before they went three up following a wayward shot from Johnson at the 13th. But, after the Americans had won the 14th and 16th, it took a solid par from Europe at the last to hold on.
Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello halved with Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth
The Americans would have felt sore - very sore - after this one. Spieth hit their approach almost dead at the first, where Garcia holed from 12 feet for a half - before then rolling in hole-winning putts from 10 feet and 20 feet respectively at the second and third. With five bidies in the first seven holes, they were three up and had increased that lead to four with six to play. But, after losing the 13th and 15th to pars, Spieth needlessly went for the green with his team’s approach at the par-5 16th, which Europe duly won with a Garcia birdie. Cabrera Bello then putted in from just off the green at the par-17th to square the match and Reed saved the Americans from an even worse outcome by holing a testing par putt at the last.
Brooks Koepka/Dustin Johnson Rory McIlroy/Thomas Pieters
This match of the big-hitters - Pieters, apparently, is the shortest of the quartet and he can get it out there - was controlled by the Europeans from the moment they edged in front thanks to a McIlroy birdie at the second.
Dovetailing brilliantly again for a second time in this format, Pieters put the Europeans two with a spectacular eagle-2 at the fifth before a McIlroy birdie at the ninth, which came after a par-3 had been good enough at the previous hole, saw the lead stretch to four up.
Pieters then replied to Johnson winning two holes in a row by doing exactly the same thing before the Americans got it back to two down again by winning the 15th and 16th with birdies.
The Europeans weren’t going to be denied, though, and Pieters rolled in a birdie putt at the 17th to secure victory, the pair being a combined 11-under for the holes played.
JB Holmes/Ryan Moore bt Danny Willett/Lee Westwood one hole
After his poor performance in Friday’s opening session, Westwood had asked Darren Clarke to leave him out of the second-day foursomes so that he could put in some time on the practice area.
The move paid dividends as the Englishman, making his 10th consecutive appearance in the event, made three birdies in a row from the fifth, the last of them giving Europe the lead after the opening six holes had all been halved.
The Europeans still had their noses in front until Holmes birdied the par-3 13th before Willett held his nerve to hole a short birdie putt at the 16th for an important half.
Unfortunately, neither of the Europeans were able to convert par putts as they then lost the short 17th and Westwood then missed from around two-and-a-half feet at the last after setting up a great chance to secure a valuable half with a majestic approach.
Phil Mickelson/Matt Kuchar bt Martin Kaymer/Sergio Garcia 2&1
Kuchar watched two opening birdies matched, first by Kaymer then Garcia, before the Americans eventually edged ahead through a Mickelson birdie at the third.
They’d already been two up before Kuchar restored that position by holing a 50-foot birdie putt at the 13th, ripping off his hat and screaming out in delight as it dropped into the hole.
Mickelson had the home fans hooping and hollering again when he won the 14th with a birdie-3 before the Europeans kept the match alive thanks to a birdie at the long 16th, where Garcia made the 4 but Kaymer was also on in two.
Garcia then piled on the pressure by hitting his tee shot to around five feet but Mickelson was up to the task and matched the Spaniard’s birdie-2 to secure victory.
Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth bt Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson 2&1
With all due respect to the other three, this was really the “Patrick Reed Show” as his briliance helped the Americans recover from losing the first to a Stenson birdie.
Reed had already squared the match with a birdie at the fifth before he holed out from the fairway for an eagle-3 at the sixth, which he followed with one of the wildest celebrations in Ryder Cup history.
He followed that by making back-to-back birdies to win the seventh and eighth as well before stepping up to the plate again on the back nine in response to the Europeans getting it back to one down after 13.
With Spieth relegated to a cheerleader, Reed nervelessly rolled in putts for birdies at the 14th and 15th and, though Stenson made a brilliant eagle-3 at the 16th, the Europeans eventually run out of holes.