Ryder Cup 2021: I'm not stopping believing, says Shane Lowry

It needs something even more amazing than Medinah and, up against the strongest-ever side to play in the event, that seems unlikely.

Shane Lowry celebrates on the third green during the Saturday afternoon fourballs in the the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

Led by Shane Lowry and Jon Rahm, Europe battled hard in the penultimate session in the 43rd Ryder Cup to try and cling onto the coat-tails of the Americans.

But, after having to settle for a 2-2 in that segment after it had looked as though 3-1 might have been on the cards, it now looks like a losing battle for Padraig Harrington’s men.

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They trail Steve Stricker’s side 11-5 heading into the last-day singles, meaning the US need just three-and-a-half points from the 12 head-to-head tussles to claim victory.

Europe trailed 10-6 at the same stage when they pulled off the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, as did the Americans at Brookline in 1999.

Those last-day turnarounds will give the Europeans a glimmer of hope, but this US side is oozing quality, albeit lacking class at times.

Brooks Koepka swore at two rules officials after a decision went against him in the foursomes session on the second day.

His nemesis, Bryson DeChambeau, then showed he didn’t like being asked to hole a short putt at the first hole in the afternoon fourballs as he laid his putter down at the hole to indicate he felt it should have been a gimme.

But some of the golf produced by the Americans has been exceptional over the opening two days and, as a consequence, it looks as though Europe are facing a damage-limitation job on the last day.

Not that Lowry is thinking that way. After holing putt after putt, including a 15-footer at the last, to claim a hard-earned victory alongside Tyrrell Hatton in the top afternoon fourball, he sounded a rallying call.

“I'm not stopping believing,” said the 2019 Open champion. “I don't care. I think I'm having the week of my life here, honestly, I really am. It's just been incredible. It's an incredible experience.

“You know, I really hope we can go out and give them loads tomorrow and just put up a good performance.

“You just never know. All morning this morning, I was thinking, thinking of Medinah, thinking of a lot of things. There's just such a good bond in our team room. We didn't get the breaks yesterday. It's disappointing. But we were out there today fighting as hard as we can.

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“I was thinking about it in bed last night, we were getting a lot of stick back home, a lot of stick off everyone else, and the captains and vice captains are getting a lot of stick off people for the pairings or whatever because everyone is a genius when you're not doing well.

“But everyone is out there trying their hardest, and that's all you can do. I'm happy I was able to get a point for my team.”

Having been on Jose Maria Olazabal’s team on Europe’s most memorable day in the biennial contest nine years ago in Chicago, Garcia also hasn’t thrown in the towel.

“It is going to be difficult,” admitted the Spaniard, “but we will not give up, that’s for sure. I will be giving my all for my team-mates and I know they will be doing the same for me.”

Two second-day wins alongside Rahm have taken Garcia’s record all-time record points tally in the event to 27.5 points. He also now holds the outright record for most match wins with 25.

The Spaniards have been quite magnificent over the opening two days and Harrington must surely regret not sending them out in Friday’s second session as well, though hindsight, of course, is a great thing.

But, while they’ve delivered, other big guns in the European side have been off colour, notably Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.

Handed a chance to redeem themselves after losing the opening five holes on Friday and finding there was no way back, they went down tamely again, this time in the fourballs.

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa handed out the defeat on this occasion. Johnson has won four out of four while rookie Morikawa has won all three of his matches.

Helped by their impressive contributions, the Americans hold their largest lead since the 1975 contest at Laurel Valley.

Given that a four-point deficit is the largest to be overturned since it evolved into the US against Europe, it looks like a losing battle for Harrington’s side but they’ll be clinging to hope from that memorable day at Medinah.

“There's no doubt that's going to be very strong on our minds,” said Harrington. “It is more of an individual game tomorrow and getting them to focus on winning their point.

“Go out there and play their game and win their point. That's the biggest thing they can do to help the team.”

Results

Foursomes

Brooks Koepka/Daniel Berger lost to Sergio Garcia/Jon Rahm 3&1

Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa bt Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton 2&1

Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas bt Viktor Hovland/Bernd Wiesberger two holes

Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele bt Lee Westwood/Matthew Fitzpatrick 2&1

Fourballs

Brooks Koepka/Jordan Spieth lost to Sergio Garcia/Jon Rahm 2&1

Tony Finau/Harris English lost to Tyrrell Hatton/Shane Lowry one hole

Scottie Scheffler/Bryson DeChambeau bt Tommt Fleetwood/Viktor Hovland 3&1

Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa bt Ian Poulter/Rory McIlroy 4&3

Sunday singles (UK times)

5.04pm Xander Schauffele v Rory McIlroy

5.15pm Patrick Cantlay v Shane Lowry

5.26pm Scottie Scheffler v Jon Rahm

5.37pm Bryson DeChambeau v Sergio Garcia

5.48pm Collin Morikawa v Viktor Hovland

5.49pm Dustin Johnson v Paul Casey

6.10pm Brooks Koepka v Bernd Wiesberger

6.21pm Tony Finau v Ian Poulter

6.32pm Justin Thomas v Tyrrell Hatton

6.43pm Harris English v Lee Westwood

6.54pm Jordan Spieth v Tommy Fleetwood

7.05pm Daniel Berger v Matt Fitzpatrick

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