USA take almost unassailable lead into 2021 Ryder Cup singles

Dustin Johnson won maximum points again to help hosts into 11-5 advantage over Team Europe at Whistling Straits.

By Rory Jiwani
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The USA are within touching distance of victory at the 43rd Ryder Cup after enjoying another excellent day at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

They take an 11-5 lead into Sunday's singles and require just 3.5 points out of 12 to regain the most prestigious team trophy in men's golf.

Their advantage is the biggest either team has had after two days since Europe's rout of Team USA at Oakland Hills in 2004.

As was the case on Friday, Europe were first on the board thanks to Spaniards Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia.

They won the top foursomes match against Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger to close the overnight gap to three points.

But, as was also the case on Friday, the home team largely dominated after that.

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa triumphed again with Olympic champion Xander Schauffele joining Johnson on three points out of three thanks to his fruitful partnership with fellow Californian Patrick Cantlay.

Johnson and Morikawa then proved too strong for Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy in the afternoon fourballs, which were shared 2-2, with Johnson the only man to amass a maximum four points so far.

USA's Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson shake hands with Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter after defeating them 4&3 in the Saturday fourballs of the 43rd Ryder Cup.
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

USA dominate Saturday morning foursomes after Spanish surge

USA captain Steve Stricker opted to stick with the same four pairings he used in Friday's foursomes, while Padraig Harrington had some mixing and matching to do after dropping Rory McIlroy following his poor opening day.

Rahm and Garcia led off for Europe again, but made a faltering start as Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger won the first three holes.

The Spaniards soon turned things around with birdies on six, eight and nine - the last thanks to Garcia chipping in from off the green - seeing them into the turn all square.

Consecutive birdies on 12 and 13 put them two-up and, after the Americans pulled one back at the 14th, Garcia won the par-5 16th with a magnificent fairway wood.

They won the 17th as well to secure a 3&1 victory with Garcia becoming the first man to win 24 matches in Ryder Cup history, one clear of Nick Faldo.

Paul Casey faced Johnson and Morikawa for the second day running in foursomes, but this time he was alongside Tyrrell Hatton.

They were soon up against it as the Americans won six of the first eight holes against their two to go four up.

The Englishmen rallied after the turn to win the 11th and 12th, and Casey holed his approach for a difficult position for eagle on 14 to leave Europe just one down.

But they dropped the 15th and two holes halved in par saw Johnson and Morikawa claim a 2&1 triumph.

While Europe played better than on Friday, the putts just seemed to drop for the home side when it mattered most.

Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger went three up on Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth after six holes, but the Americans were level through 10 and won four of the last five holes to prevail 2 up.

And a blitz of four birdies in five holes around the turn saw Schauffele and Cantlay take charge of the last match against Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, the Californians eventually winning 2&1.

Teams share Saturday afternoon fourballs

Harrington stuck with Rahm and Garcia in the afternoon fourballs, and they responded once more.

Rahm has certainly lived up to his world number one ranking this week, and four birdies in the opening seven holes put the Spaniards three up on Koepka and Spieth.

Koepka responded on the eighth hole, and made birdies at 10 and 13 to tie the match.

But that man Rahm delivered under pressure again, birdying 15 and 16 to put Europe two up before they closed it out 2&1.

Hatton and Shane Lowry guaranteed Europe at least a share of a session for the first time at Whistling Straits with victory over Tony Finau and Harris English.

Fifteen of the 18 holes were halved with Hatton's birdie at the 11th putting his side into a two-hole lead, before Lowry joyfully secured victory at the last with the coolest of putts for par.

In the bottom match, Johnson and Morikawa raced into three-hole lead after eight against Poulter and McIlroy with the American pair dovetailing beautifully.

Morikawa drove the par-4 sixth, and it was his birdie on 15 which sealed a 4&3 triumph.

And Europe's hopes of finally winning a session at Whistling Straits were dashed when Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau produced a late rally to defeat Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland.

Fleetwood's birdie on 12 put Europe in front, but the Americans reeled off four holes in a row with DeChambeau's superb tee shot at 17 sealing a 3&1 victory.

It was 2020 US Open champ DeChambeau's first win in a Ryder Cup match at the fifth attempt, and left the USA with a healthy six-point lead going into Sunday's singles.

They need 3.5 points to win back the Ryder Cup with Europe needing an unlikely nine points out of 12 to retain the trophy.

When Europe pulled off 'The Miracle of Medinah' in 2012, they trailed 10-6 going into the final day singles before winning 14.5-13.5.

2021 Ryder Cup - Day 2 results (USA first)

Morning foursomes

Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger lost to Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia 3&1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa def. Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton 2&1
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth def. Victor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger 2 up
Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay def. Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick 2&1

Afternoon fourballs

Koepka and Spieth lost to Rahm and Garcia 2&1
Tony Finau and Harris English lost to Shane Lowry and Hatton 1 up
Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau def. Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland 3&1
Johnson and Morikawa def. Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy 4&3

Score at end of Day 2: Team USA 11, Team Europe 5.

2021 Ryder Cup teams

United States

Non-playing captain: Steve Stricker

Non-playing vice-captains: Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson

Playing squad: Daniel Berger (world number 16), Patrick Cantlay (#4), Bryson DeChambeau (#7), Harris English (#11), Tony Finau (#10), Dustin Johnson (#2), Brooks Koepka (#9), Collin Morikawa (#3), Xander Schauffele (#5), Scottie Scheffler (#21), Jordan Spieth (#14), Justin Thomas (#6)

Europe

Non-playing captain: Pádraig Harrington (Ireland)

Non-playing vice-captains: Luke Donald (England), Robert Karlsson (Sweden), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Graeme McDowell (N. Ireland), Henrik Stenson (Sweden)

Playing squad: Paul Casey (England, world number 23), Matthew Fitzpatrick (England, #27), Tommy Fleetwood (England, #36), Sergio García (Spain, #43), Tyrrell Hatton (England, #19), Viktor Hovland (Norway, #13), Shane Lowry (Ireland, #40), Rory McIlroy (N. Ireland, #15), Ian Poulter (England, #49), Jon Rahm (Spain, #1), Lee Westwood (England, #34), Bernd Wiesberger (Austria, #61)

Remaining Ryder Cup schedule

All times are local Central Daylight Savings Time (CDT, 5 hours behind UTC). Start times are appropriate and may change due to conditions.

Sunday 26 September
The first singles match tees off at 11:04am, with matches teeing off at 11-minute intervals.
The last singles match tees off at 1:05pm.
Play is expected to conclude around 4:55pm.