Ryder Cup Recap Ryder Cup Recap: USA seize command at Hazeltine

The atmosphere at Hazeltine became increasingly lively as the USA opened up a 9.5 - 6.5 lead ahead of the Sunday singles.

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The United States will take a three-point lead into Sunday's Ryder Cup singles after coming out firmly on top in a dramatic final session of better-ball play at Hazeltine.

After suffering a 4-0 whitewash in the foursomes on Friday morning, reigning champions Europe had surged back into contention by winning the next two sessions.

However, Darren Clarke's men were second-best in the Saturday fourballs as the hosts won three out of four matches - amid an increasingly raucous atmosphere - to regain a healthy advantage ahead of the final day.

Europe's only victory in the afternoon came from Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters, while Lee Westwood was guilty of a shocking missed putt from close range on the last as he and Danny Willett were beaten by JB Holmes and Ryan Moore.

Patrick Reed was the star of the show for the USA, firing seven birdies and an eagle in the company of a subdued Jordan Spieth to almost single-handedly beat Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, while Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar got the better of Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer.

The USA lead 9.5 - 6.5 and require just five points in the singles to secure a first Ryder Cup triumph since 2008, while their opponents must hope for a similar comeback to the one they produced from 10-6 down at Medinah four years ago.

There was initial joy for Europe as McIlroy and increasingly impressive rookie Pieters beat Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka 3 and 1 in a clash of the big-hitters to maintain their 100 per cent record from three matches together. McIlroy, the target of many heckles from the crowd, and Pieters were four up with four to play before eventually completing victory on the 17th.

Yet the remaining matches went the way of the USA, with Reed particularly outstanding as he won hole after hole to ensure the struggles of Spieth mattered little. Reed and Spieth had thrown away a four-hole lead earlier in the day, but there was to be no repeat of that slip-up against Rose and Stenson.

Mickelson and Kuchar - a new US partnership - dovetailed nicely to beat Garcia and Kaymer 2 and 1, while Westwood's putting woes - he also missed a short one on 17 - ensured Holmes and Moore were able to snatch another US victory after taking the lead for the first time on the 17th.



"You might see this in Paris," - McIlroy suggests his partnership with Pieters is likely to be rekindled at the 2018 Ryder Cup.

"I'm excited, but at the same time, a three-point lead, that can go away in the first three matches. We need to recognise that there's 12 points to be had tomorrow. We've got a day tomorrow that's more significant than either of these last two days," - Spieth is aware USA's job is not done yet.



- Reed caught fire in a stunning run from the fifth, winning four holes in a row. The highlight came at the long sixth, when he holed a pitch from the fairway for a stunning eagle.

- Mickelson, Garcia and Kuchar held mammoth putts at the 10th, 12th and 13th respectively as the third match of the afternoon provided a host of eye-catching birdies.

- Westwood's missed putt on 18 was painful in the extreme for Europe and felt decisive, the Englishman failing to convert from no more than a couple of feet.



- Reed will take some stopping in the singles. He hit new heights with his display against Rose and Stenson.

- Danny Willett's brother, Peter, was rightly condemned for his pre-tournament comments about American golf fans. Yet there were certainly times on Saturday when members of the crowd did not cover themselves in glory. McIlroy had one spectator ejected after he was subjected to foul-mouthed abuse on his way to the eighth green.

- Pieters has fully justified his pick, but Clarke's decision to recall his other wildcards, Kaymer and Westwood, on Saturday afternoon backfired as the two experienced men failed to deliver.

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