Day 2 at the Ryder Cup: Europe takes full command

Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood became the first European team to ever go 4-0 in a Ryder Cup. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

PARIS -- Europe entered Saturday with a two-point lead. The U.S. needed a strong morning session at Le Golf National. Instead, the Americans are getting thumped.

Here's what's happening on Day 2 at the Ryder Cup:


Afternoon session: Foursomes

Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood def. Tiger Woods/Bryson DeChambeau 5 and 4

How it happened: See if this sounds familiar: Molinari and Fleetwood were unstoppable. And Tiger Woods was ordinary. Molinari and Fleetwood steamrolled Woods and DeChambeau on the front nine, going five up at the turn before coasting home to become the first European team to ever go 4-0 over the first two days of the Ryder Cup. (U.S. partners Larry Nelson and Lanny Wadkins are the only other pair to do it, pulling off the feat in 1979). For Molinari and Fleetwood, three of their wins came at Woods' expense. They beat Woods and Reed twice, then pummeled Woods and DeChambeau Saturday afternoon.

Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood became the first European tandem to go 4-0 in a Ryder Cup dating to the continent's inclusion in 1979. The due has been dominant, and three times dispatched Tiger Woods, who partnered with Bryson DeChambeau on Saturday afternoon in the 5&4 loss.

Bob Harig, ESPN Senior Writer2y ago

Tommy Fleetwood after becoming the first European rookie to win his first four matches: "Little bit emotional right now and it's only Saturday. We were really, really good this afternoon. To have a bit of history together is very special." Partner Francesco Molinari added: "We came here to do a job and it's not about record books, it's about 14.5 points. We will have to fight hard for them. It's not going to be easy."

Matt Cooper, Special to ESPN.com2y ago

A spectacular year continues for Francesco Molinari. The Open champion arrived in Paris with no win, four losses and two halves in his previous two Ryder Cup appearances and before the week is out he has transformed that record into 4-4-2. The man he and partner Tommy Fleetwood defeated, Tiger Woods, has now won just nine time in 29 foursome and fourball matches.

Matt Cooper, Special to ESPN.com2y ago

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson def. Dustin Johnson/Brooks Koepka 2 and 1

How it happened: Not many matches were tight Saturday. This one was. The U.S. led after three holes. It was all square through seven holes. The lead never got bigger than 2 up for Europe over the closing holes as Johnson and Koepka tried to stay close. But Stenson made two huge putts from 10 feet on on No. 16 and No. 17 to put away the Americans. So after both sat out the morning session, Stenson and Rose kept the European momentum going.

The U.S. needed to sneak out another point late Saturday afternoon, and Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson were Team USA's best chance. But Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were just not going to let that happen.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com2y ago

Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson def. Sergio Garcia/Alex Noren 3 and 2

How it happened: Watson and Simpson watched the U.S. fall on its face in the morning session. After sitting out Saturday's four-ball, Watson and Simpson quickly put an American flag on the board by winning the first hole. They never trailed. They made five birdies to hand Garcia his first lost of the week. Garcia had been 2-0, including an easy 5 and 4 with Noren in Friday's afternoon foursomes session.

Bubba Watson after completing his first win of the week with Webb Simpson: "To halve the second with a triple bogey six was quite something. That's gotta be in the record books. But it was critical for us to make a move and we gotta play good tomorrow."

Matt Cooper, Special to ESPN.com2y ago

Alternate shot has not been kind to Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, but they tossed history aside in the afternoon's second match. Watson was 0-for-3, Simpson 0-for-2 and the pair had been trounced 4 and 2 Friday afternoon. Their next step? Redemption courtesy of a 3 and 2 downing of Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren.

Matt Cooper, Special to ESPN.com2y ago

Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def. Ian Poulter/Rory McIlroy 4 and 3

How it happened: Rory McIlory and Ian Poulter were off to a good start, winning the first two holes after a pair of short misses by Justin Thomas. Then McIlroy made a 10-footer to halve the hole on No. 3, turned, and shouted down two American fans in the gallery. Something changed. McIlroy walked to the next tee and hit one wide right, and he and Poulter lost the next three holes. They never recovered, with Thomas and Spieth suddenly finding the form that led to the Americans' only win in the morning matches.

Well, U.S. captain Jim Furyk had one lineup that really worked out well on Saturday. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas won both of their matches and ran their record to 3-1 this week. If you need help with the math, that's half of the U.S. team's points.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com2y ago

Morning session: Four-ball

Rory McIlroy/Sergio Garcia def. Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau 2 and 1

How it happened: Garcia and McIlroy sprinted out to a big lead, standing 4 up through six holes. They were still four up through 13 holes, with both players making big putt after big putt. The problem for the U.S. was Finau couldn't make short putts, missing gimme-range putts twice that could have helped the U.S. So it was over, right? Not yet. Finau and Koepka finally woke up, winning three consecutive holes to go to 17 suddenly 1 down. But Garcia made another unlikely birdie putt at 17 to put away the match and fly the first European flag of the day.

Sergio Garcia is doing for Captain Thomas Bjørn the exact opposite of what Phil Mickelson is doing for Jim Furyk. Validation.

Michael Collins, ESPN Senior Writer2y ago

History beckons for Sergio Garcia. He has now totalled 24.5 points since his 1999 debut and only Sir Nick Faldo has won more points (25) in the Ryder Cup. His fourball record also remains superb. He has won twice as many matches as he has lost (eight to four, with three halves).

Matt Cooper, Special to ESPN.com2y ago

Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton def. Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler 3 and 2

How it happened: Fowler hit his tee shot in the water on the opening hole. Johnson nearly hit his tee shot on No. 1 in the water, chipped down the fairway, then hit his third shot in the water. Things never really got much better for the two. Casey made three straight birdies, good for two wins, and the Europeans never let their lead get smaller than the 2 up the rest of the way. Casey and Hatton were 9 under for 16 holes. That is tough to beat.

"You don't wanna jut be on the team, you wanna contribute." An emotional Paul Casey chokes up after he and Terrell Hatton defeat Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

Michael Collins, ESPN Senior Writer2y ago

Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood def. Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed 4 and 3

How it happened: Just as on Day 1, when these two teams went head-to-head in the same format, Molinari and Fleetwood pulled away down the stretch. After Woods made birdie at No. 10 to even things, Molinari stuffed an approach on No. 11, then two more birdies on Nos. 12 and 13. Just like that, Woods and Reed were 3 down and, essentially, done. Reed, for two days now, has looked lost. And with Molinari and Fleetwood playing so well, a lost Reed and a so-so Woods did not have a chance.

Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood take down Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed again. Molinari is putting on a clinic on how to beat Tiger Woods. Patrick Reed played horrifically.

Michael Collins, ESPN Senior Writer2y ago

Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth def. Ian Poulter/Jon Rahm 2 and 1

How it happened: The most competitive match of the morning session, and the only one that saw an American flag all day. The fiery Thomas shushed the pro-Europe crowd a few times -- which might have been a bit odd considering the trouncing the Americans were experiencing. Spieth made a huge 20-footer on 11 to win the hole, and Thomas hit one close on the next hole to give the Americans a 2-up lead. Poulter and Rahm threatened down the stretch, hoping to give the Europeans a full morning sweep, but Thomas answered Poulter's birdie on 16 with one of his own, and Thomas finished things by hitting it close on 17.

Huge point for the U.S. team as Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth gut out a 2&1 victory over Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm. Thomas was incredible from 11 onwards, with four birdies including a pulsating one on 17 that might, just might, fire the American side up for an afternoon resurgence.

Steven Saunders, Senior Editor2y ago