United States need 4.5 points from Sunday's 12 singles matches to regain the Ryder Cup as they dominanted the fourballs, but Europe rallied late on through a pair of Englishmen to reduce the deficit.
Davis Love III's team led 8-4 after Saturday's foursomes, and steadied their advantage to 10-6 by the close of play at the Medinah course in Chicago.
With the rough trimmed to a non-penal length prior to the event in order to suit the hosts' longer hitters, there were suspicions it would turn into a putting contest - and so it proved, with America holing pressure putts with regularity, while Europe continued to look baffled by the greens.
Although tee to green the European side matched their opponents, when it came to ruthless finishing with the flat stick, there was a chasm between the two sides. The lively putting surfaces were just too puzzling for the visitors to conquer.
It was the third session in a row that Europe lost resoundingly, and leaves skipper Jose Maria Olazabal staring at a thumping defeat. The singles competition has traditionally not been an area of strength for Europe.
Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson kicked off the American charge with a 5&4 triumph over Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari, with US Open winner Simpson deadly on the greens as he inspired the triumph.
"There's nothing like the Ryder Cup," he said. "I'll never forget hitting the first tee shot, the first birdie - I could hear my heart beat. There's a little added pressure but a good pressure. You just want to play well so bad. It's more than a major, for sure."
Undoubtedly the star of the afternoon session, though, was Ian Poulter, who ended his round with five consecutive birdies to hand Europe a crucial point. Poulter and partner Rory McIlroy clinched a 1Up triumph over Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner on the final hole, with the Englishman sinking a 15-foot downhill putt.
Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia had claimed a valuable 1Up victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker just moments earlier. Donald's approach play was a highlight, and as Stricker lipped out on the last Europe gained hope heading into the final day.