Record-breaking lead for Europe who dismantle shambolic Americans

Ronan MacNamara

Scottie Scheffler of Team United States is consoled by his Wife, Meredith (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Rónán MacNamara

Europe 9½ – 2½ USA

Only in golf could the world number one be beaten 9&7 by a kid still waiting on his college results.

Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg earned the biggest win in Ryder Cup history as their demolition job of a tearful Scottie Scheffler and five-time major champion Brooks Koepka kickstarted Europe on their way to the largest ever lead after three sessions.

Europe only need five points from the next two sessions to win the Ryder Cup.

Luke Donald’s side claimed the third session 3-1 after further wins for Rory McIlroy/Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm/Tyrrell Hatton to open up a seven point advantage as Max Homa and Brian Harman deservedly earned USA’s first win of the contest and avoided a second-straight foursomes whitewash.

In match two Scheffler and Koepka were a combined seven-over-par for eleven embarrassing holes including two double bogeys in their opening three holes in what was the most disgraceful Ryder Cup performance ever. The pair looked helpless and disinterested, displaying all the tell tale signs of a duo short of competitive action.

Meanwhile, Hovland and Aberg were simply awesome as they picked up their second foursomes win together. The Europeans were six-under for eleven holes including four birdies in a row to close out a record-breaking victory.

“I don’t think we could have done a whole lot better. It’s nice to kind of speak our own language and we understand each other. Obviously same humour, same culture. He’s a stud. He doesn’t miss a shot, so it’s easy when I’m playing well and he’s playing well and we are just feeding off of each other,” said an elated Hovland.

Aberg added: “It’s an unbelievable time for me to be here to play alongside one of the best players in the world in Viktor and to be playing against other world-class players.

“So for me it’s unbelievable, but obviously today was quite surreal at times. Almost pinch myself at times but obviously super happy with it and looking forward to this afternoon.”

McIlroy came up trumps on the greens for Europe, holing two clutch winning putts on 15 and 17 as he and Fleetwood eventually shirked the challenge of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

The American duo didn’t look like seeing a fairway in a month of Sundays but remarkably battled back from 3DN with six to play to the minimum before McIlroy holed from fifteen feet on 17 for a winning par and a 2&1 victory for the second successive day.

“Yesterday was an amazing day and we wanted to enjoy it because it’s not very often you go out on a full day in a Ryder Cup and don’t lose a full point. We enjoyed last night but at the same time we knew the Americans were going to be hurting a bit and they obviously want to get off to a fast start this morning, and our objective is to just not let them do that,” smiled McIlroy.

“We went out first and we got blue on the board early, the boys behind got blue on the board early and that set the tone for the day. Another great start, what we have been talking about all week and we just need to keep it going.”

Early on in the session Europe threatened a second straight foursomes whitewash going up in three and all square in one at the turn but Max Homa and Brian Harman ensured Zach Johnson’s team would avoid another humbling experience with a comfortable 4&2 win over Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka as they took control of the back nine.

Homa and Wyndham Clark let slip a commanding position in the afternoon fourballs yesterday but he and Open champion Harman proved too strong for the Europeans in match three as USA finally registered their first win of the contest.

“We needed something to go our way. I felt like we were ready this morning. We were ready to come out and play some great golf which we did. Somebody had to start a spark, so I’m just glad it was us,” said Homa who chipped in for eagle on 16 to close out the win.

America were guilty of letting promising positions slip in yesterday afternoon’s fourballs and Xander Schauffele crumbled under the pressure again, missing two tiddlers on 16 and 17 which allowed Rahm and Hatton to steal in and notch their second straight win as a pair.

Rahm and Hatton looked to be cruising at 3UP through eleven but three successive birdies brought the Americans level and gave them hope that they might salvage a crucial half from the session and give themselves even the smallest glimmer of hope heading into the afternoon fourballs.

But they came up shy and suffered their first defeat as a pair in the Ryder Cup.

Claims of health issues and rumours of a dressing room rift, this has been a shambolic performance from Zach Johnson and his side and there appears to be no hope for them heading into the remainder of the weekend.

Luckily for them, Europe can’t win the Ryder Cup on Saturday although the USA might be better served sending a few team members sightseeing on Sunday anyway.

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