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Europe leading early in Saturday foursomes

29 September 2018

Thomas, paired with Jordan Spieth for the day two opener, found himself carrying Team USA's sole hopes of a morning win after Garcia/McIlroy beat Koepka/Finau, Molinari/Fleetwood beat Reed/Woods and Casey/Hatton beat Johnson/Fowler.

But it was not just the points tally that will have sent European captain Thomas Bjorn off to dinner on a high, but the crushing nature of the victories as the home team dealt much better with the strong wind that developed through the afternoon as numerous big name Americans fell apart on Saturday (NZ time).

Someone tell this lad that The Ryder Cup is a team game. He and Bryson DeChambeau were on the wrong end of an ugly 5-and-4 loss to Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren, a match that was part of the first-ever European sweep in foursomes, and now it might be time for Mickelson to play the role of cheerleader for a day.

After Hatton held his nerve to halve the 13th with a close-range birdie putt, Casey's birdie was enough to win the 14th after Fowler's ten-foot putt horseshoed the hole.

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Better was to come on the eighth, where the Northern Irishman drained a beauty from 25 feet before Finau missed from a third of the distance to extend that lead to four.

It was such a shocking break that the gallery booed Finau when he reached the green. McIlroy's chip from the fringes lipped out yet Garcia banged in his putt from range, piling pressure on the USA rookie that made him push his attempt left - back to four up when it could so easily have been two. His brilliant putt from the back of the 17th green rattled in, Koepka could not match him and the point was Europe's. Woods fires one right at the flag but 20 feet past. He hit a brilliant 30-yard pitch from there to 6 feet. I was never in doubt that I wanted to have him on the golf course this afternoon.

Session 1 (fourballs) starts: 2 a.m. Session 2 (foursomes) starts: 7:45 a.m. They beat Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed, 4&3, and are 3-0 as a pairing so far in this Ryder Cup. The decisive stretch came early in the back nine when Molinari won three consecutive holes with birdies after Woods had squared the match with a birdie on the 10th hole.

Molinari struck back in style. It was going straight, but it was not cutting.

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Tiger Woods of the US places the cover of a water sprinkler as he jokes with Patrick Reeds, center, and Jordan Spieth, right, during a practice round of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, outside Paris, France, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. A drive right into the fairway for Simpson, a great approach from Watson 12 feet past the cup and Simpson drains the birdie putt.

Only Spieth of the United States superstars was playing close to his usual esteemed standards.

This meant Europe kept the same lineup that allowed Thomas Bjørn's side to sweep the foursomes session on Friday.

All four matches saw dominant triumphs for Europe, and finished within an hour of each other.

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Here are the studs and duds from the first day of the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Europe leading early in Saturday foursomes