GUIDONIA MONTECELIO – Hats off to Patrick Cantlay.
After his late burst of birdies won the Americans the final fourballs match on Day 2, Cantlay’s teammates responded by removing their caps and waving them in the air.
The gesture appeared to be in response to an unsubstantiated report from Sky Sports — the broadcast partner for the European tour at Marco Simone — that singled out Cantlay as causing a rift among the Americans because he thinks they should be paid at the Ryder Cup.
The report also claimed Cantlay was not wearing a hat out of protest. Cantlay also did not wear a cap at the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in 2021.
European fans in the galleries were also waving the hats as Cantlay walked the fairways on the final holes of his round with Wyndham Clark.
Patrick Cantlay holed birdie putts to win the final three holes and earn the Americans a 1-up win in the final fourballs match on Day 2 at the Ryder Cup, giving them a glimmer of hope of retaining the golden trophy.
The U.S. team won the afternoon session 3-1 and trimmed Europe’s lead to 10½-5½.
Cantlay and Wyndham Clark were 1 down to Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick arriving at the 16th but the momentum changed as the sun set over Marco Simone, with Cantlay making birdies from 12 feet at No. 16 and 10 feet at the par-3 17th. The longest putt was at No. 18 — and neither McIlroy nor Fitzpatrick could match it.
It was the first session lost by Europe at this Ryder Cup.
Europe needs four more points to reclaim the trophy.
Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre have halted the Americans' momentum at the Ryder Cup.
They earned Europe's first point of the afternoon fourballs by winning 3 and 2 against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, who didn't make a birdie after the seventh hole in their second match of the day.
The Europeans lead 10 1/2-4 1/2 and are four points off regaining the golden trophy. Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick are 1 up in the anchor match, too, against Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark.
Max Homa and Brian Harman have delivered their second point of the day, trimming the Americans' deficit to Europe to five at the Ryder Cup.
Homa rolled in a par putt from 10 feet at the 17th hole to seal a 2-and-1 win over Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard.
Fleetwood had extended the match by chipping in from thick greenside rough at No. 16. He looked away before the ball dropped and stood motionless before a frenzied, pro-Europe crowd.
Homa himself pitched in from just off the green for a halve at No. 15 and immediately turned to point at a heckler in the gallery.
The U.S. team is up to 4 1/2 points, but is trailing in the final two matches of the fourballs.
Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg quickly came down from their high at the Ryder Cup.
Coming off a record 9-and-7 win in the morning foursomes, the Scandinavians were dispatched 4 and 3 by Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa.
Morikawa missed short birdie putts for the win at Nos. 13 and 14 but Burns' par putt at No. 15 was enough to reduce Europe's lead to 9½-3½.
It was part of a resurgent afternoon performance by the Americans, who also look good for a point through Max Homa and Brian Harman. They are 4 up on Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard through 13 holes.
The Europeans lead the final two matches, both 1 up.
Rory McIlroy already has three wins this week and is looking to become the second Team Europe player to go 5-0 at a Ryder Cup.
McIlroy is leading his fourth match, too, as he and Matt Fitzpatrick are 1 up on Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark.
It's the only blue on the board for Europe in the fourballs. The American pairing of Collin Morikawa and Sam Burns is bringing Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg down to earth, with Morikawa making a 6-foot birdie putt at No. 9 to go 4 up.
Francesco Molinari is the only Europe player to go 5-0 at a Ryder Cup, in France in 2018.
The United States has finally started a session well in the Ryder Cup.
The afternoon fourballs opened with Sam Burns and Collin Moriwaka, who were rested in the morning, winning three of their first five holes and going 2 up against Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg — the Scandinavian pairing coming off a record 9-and-7 win in the foursomes.
In the second match, Max Homa and Brian Harman built on their victory in the foursomes by moving 2 up after four holes against Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard.
Homa might be the U.S. star this week and he poured in a long birdie putt up the hill at the par-4 fifth hole.
It was a welcome splash of red on the boards for the Americans as they look to recover from a seven-point deficit and be within reach of the Europeans heading into the Sunday singles.
Europe didn't sweep the foursomes session again in the Ryder Cup. But it was close.
Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton won the last two holes and Xander Schauffele missed two key putts as Europe won the anchor match, 2 and 1. That gave Team Europe a 3-1 edge in the session and expanded its lead to 9 1/2-2 1/2 going into the afternoon.
For now, Europe is ahead of the pace the Americans set at Whistling Straits two years ago after three sessions. The Americans went on to a record margin of victory. Europe's largest lead ever going into singles is six points at Oakland Hills in 2004.
The Americans came back from a 3-down deficit. But Hatton made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th, and Schauffele missed from about 8 feet. On the 17th, Rahm came inches from an ace. Patrick Cantlay hit his shot into 6 feet, but Schauffele missed and the match was over.
For the afternoon fourballs:
Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg vs. Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa.
Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard vs. Max Homa and Brian Harman.
Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre vs. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth
Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick vs. Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark.
That means Hovland, McIlroy and Homa will be the only players in all five matches.
The Americans finally can claim victory in at least one match in what has been a one-sided Ryder Cup. British Open champion Brian Harman and Max Homa delivered their first victory by beating Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka.
The Americans never trailed — that's a first, too. They seized control when Homa hit a beautiful draw with a long iron on the par-5 12th that was inches from going in. And they capped off the 4-and-2 victory when Homa chipped in for eagle on the reachable par-4 16th.
That's a mere consolation prize at the moment. Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood finally beat Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in 17 holes. That's the third win this week for McIlroy. That assures Europe will have the lead going into Sunday.
In the anchor match, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are on the verge of rallying from 3 down to square the match.
Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg have taken their place in Ryder Cup history with the largest margin of victory for an 18-hole match — 9 and 7.
They needed only 11 holes over 2 hours and 20 minutes to beat Scottie Scheffler, the world's No. 1 player, and five-time major champion Brooks Koepka.
The previous record for foursomes was 7 and 6, most recently when Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley beat Luke Donald and Lee Westwood at Medinah in 2012. The record for a fourballs match is 7 and 5, while the singles record is 8 and 7.
This was a blowout from the start, and the Scandinavian duo didn't have to work all that hard. The Americans made two double bogeys in the opening three holes. The Americans didn't win a single hole and made only one birdie, on the reachable par-4 fifth.
Brooks Koepka isn't playing like a five-time major champion. And Scottie Scheffler isn't playing like the world No. 1 at the Ryder Cup on Saturday.
The illustrious Americans were 6 down after eight holes to Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg in the second match, and have yet to win a hole.
There's European blue all over the scoreboards at Marco Simone, with an American fightback not yet materializing.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth hacked their way up the par-5 sixth and conceded the hole to Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood, who head to the back nine 3-up.
The Americans needed a fast start to Day 2 of the Ryder Cup after resuming with a five-point deficit to Europe.
They didn't get it.
All the foursomes matches are out on the course at Marco Simone and the U.S. team is 3 down in the lead match and 4 down in the second match.
The U.S. pushed their drives into the deep rough on the first hole in each of the opening three matches. There were ironic cheers from the grandstand when Patrick Cantlay found the fairway in the anchor match.
Europe's lead pairing of Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood won the first three holes against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg, out for Europe in the second match, won the first four holes against world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka.
The Europeans led 6 1/2-1 1/2 after Day 1, tying their best start to a Ryder Cup as they look to reclaim the gold trophy.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf