World number one Jon Rahm made his move on the third day of the Tournament of Champions with a course-record round to join Cameron Smith with a share of the lead in Hawaii.

The Spaniard carded a 12-under-round 61 to move level with Smith, who led by three shots at the halfway mark, on 26 under after three rounds at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort.

Rahm's round was an equal course record, with 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas also carding a 12-under-61 on Saturday to surge up the leaderboard to 17 under.

Last year's US Open champion Rahm shot 11 birdies with one eagle and one bogey in his round, drawing level with the Australian when he sunk a 29-foot putt on the 17th hole.

Smith, who also had a one-shot lead after the opening day, held firm with six birdies on his back nine.

The lead pair are five strokes clear of the next best, with American Daniel Berger slipping off the pace after a third straight round of 66 to be 21 under.

Berger finished his round with five consecutive birdies to keep his faint hopes alive.

Matt Jones, Sungjae Im and Patrick Cantlay are tied at 20 under, ahead of Marc Leishman at 18 under with Thomas and 2021 Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama at 17 under.

Top 10 duo Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele were unable to make any major inroads on the third day and are further back at 15 under.

Australian Cameron Smith holds a one-stroke lead after the opening day of the PGA Tour's calendar year-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Thursday.

Smith carded an eight-under-par 65 which included two eagles along with five birdies and one bogey to claim the lead ahead of three players including world number one Jon Rahm on seven under.

Rahm is tied with American pair Daniel Berger and Patrick Cantlay following rounds of 66 in good conditions.

More than half of the 38-player field broke 70 in the conditions, although Grand Slam winners Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth (both 71) and Justin Thomas (74) were not among that group.

Top-ranked Rahm and PGA Tour Player of the Year Cantlay were both returning to competitive golf after several months off and made fine transitions.

The Spaniard had seven birdies and no bogeys in his round, while Cantlay started with a bogey but finished in style, with four birdies and an eagle in his final five holes.

Berger might have shared the lead with Smith if not for a bogey on the penultimate hole, having made five birdies on his front nine.

Erik van Rooyen, Kevin Na and Sungjae Jim are six under, while world number two Collin Morikawa and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka are among five players at five under.

Top 20 trio Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama are also not far off the pace after opening rounds of four-under for 69.

Rory McIlroy earned a share of the first-round lead after the former world number one carded a six-under-par 66 at the Hero World Challenge.

McIlroy – winner of October's CJ Cup – was almost flawless on the opening day as the four-time major champion joined Daniel Berger and Abraham Ancer a stroke clear atop the leaderboard.

McIlroy had an eagle, six birdies and a double-bogey at Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas on Thursday.

"It was nice to play the back nine the way I did and put myself back in the tournament," said McIlroy, who did not drop a shot on the back nine with three birdies and an eagle, which he improbably chipped in.

Berger boasted a four-shot advantage at one point in the first round after bursting out the blocks with four consecutive birdies, though two bogeys on the back nine undid some of that good work.

But McIlroy and Ancer ensured the American must share the lead entering Friday's second round, the former going five-under following the turn at the PGA Tour tournament.

Fellow leader Ancer finished in similar style, despite also faltering with a bogey on the ninth, recording five birdies after the halfway point to join the group on six under.

It looked like there would be a different leader, however, with American star Justin Thomas a shot in front until the final hole, which he double-bogeyed.

Brooks Koepka – a four-time major champion – joins the 2017 PGA Championship winner after registering 67, with Webb Simpson also a shot off the initial mark.

The quality on display does not stop there, with Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa all managing 68 to sit two shots off the three-man leading pack ahead of day two.

Viktor Hovland became the first player to win back-to-back World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba titles after cruising to a four-shot victory.

Hovland dominated in Sunday's final round at El Camaleon Golf Club, the defending champion carding a four-under-par 67 to win his third PGA Tour trophy.

Two strokes clear at the start of play, Hovland holed six birdies and two bogeys to stretch his advantage atop the summit in Playa del Carmen, where the 24-year-old Norwegian star set a new 72-hole scoring record at 23 under.

Hovland became the fifth consecutive international winner on the PGA Tour, after Im Sung-jae (Shriners Children's Open), Rory McIlroy (CJ Cup), Hideki Matsuyama (Zozo Championship) and Lucas Herbert (Bermuda Championship).

"I think I'll have to say so," Hovland replied when asked if it was the best week of his career. "I played really good golf throughout the week, I didn't have my best stuff today but I wish I could putt like I did today more often.

"It's been a blast all week - throughout the week I've been chipping it so good, making so many up-and-downs and it puts a lot of pressure off your long game.

"I hit a couple of bad chips today, it's still a work in progress but I've made big strides and I hope I can continue in that way."

Mexican Carlos Ortiz (66) finished runner-up to Hovland, while former world number one Justin Thomas (69) secured third at 18 under, a stroke better off than Scottie Scheffler (66).

Matthew Wolff (65) – the leader after the opening two rounds – ended the event tied for fifth alongside Joaquin Niemann (66).

Viktor Hovland is on track to retain his World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba title after a birdie spree sent him to the top of the leaderboard following the third round.

Defending champion Hovland carded a career-low nine-under-par 62 on Saturday to soar to the Mayakoba summit at El Camaleon Golf Club, where he leads by two strokes.

The Norwegian star was flawless, holing nine birdies without a bogey, as he overturned a three-shot deficit on the penultimate day, with overnight leader Matthew Wolff crumbling (74).

"I got the max out of my game, essentially," said Hovland, who is bidding to become the first player to go back-to-back at the PGA Tour tournament.

"I did hit some approaches that were 40 feet, 30 feet and even 50 feet and when that kind of happens, you're just expecting to two-putt and move on. Then when I did hit a nice approach shot, I took advantage of it.

"So I felt like I got max out of my game, but obviously to shoot 59 you've got to chip in and you've got to hole a 50-footer or some longer putts and I didn't quite do that today, but I'm not too disappointed.

"That was fun today. Obviously I got off to a nice start and it was nice to have one of those rounds where you can kind of keep it going throughout the day instead of maybe slowing down towards the end there where, frankly, there are some tough holes."

Hovland is 19 under overall through 54 holes, two shots clear of Talor Gooch (63) and three ahead of former world number one Justin Thomas (64).

Wolff – who led entering the weekend – had a nightmare round, having bogeyed four holes to be tied for 17th, nine shots adrift of Hovland heading into Sunday's decider.

American pair Rickie Fowler (69) and Patrick Reed (70) are tied for 54th and 60th respectively.

Matthew Wolff could not duplicate the career-best form he showed in the opening round of the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba on Friday, but he remains atop the leaderboard entering the weekend. 

Wolff carded a 68 in the second round to sit at 13 under par for the tournament at El Camaleon Golf Club, bogeying two of the last three holes after posting a flawless 61 Thursday. 

The 22-year-old American holds a two-stroke lead on countryman Scottie Scheffler (64), with home-crowd favourite Carlos Ortiz (65) and defending champion Viktor Hovland (65) three back at 10 under.

Sergio Garcia (69) and Justin Thomas (65) are among 10 players at nine under for the tournament. 

"It was a hard finish, but I was really happy with how I played today," Wolff said. "Felt like it was pretty difficult this afternoon, honestly. 

"Following a round like I had yesterday, it’s not always easy to come out and keep on making birdies and glad I proved to myself that I could do it. I put myself in a really good spot, so I’m excited for the week."

Further down the leaderboard, Justin Rose (70) is at five under, with Rickie Fowler (72), Charl Schwartzel (69), Patrick Reed (65) and Keegan Bradley (67) among those just making the cut at four under. 

On the wrong side of the line were Ian Poulter (73) at three under, Luke Donald (67) and Shane Lowry (69) at two under and Brooks Koepka (71) at even par. 

Matthew Wolff tied his career-low round to set the early pace at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

Wolff was flawless in the opening round, carding a bogey-free 10-under-par 61 for a two-stroke lead at El Camaleon Golf Club on Thursday.

Winner of his sole PGA Tour title at the 2019 3M Open, Wolff has struggled over the past year, but the 22-year-old American dazzled in Playa del Carmen, where he holed 10 birdies without dropping a shot.

"I feel like I've definitely gone through some stuff in the last six or seven months, but to be able to come out of it, have a really good attitude and, you know, everything did go right today," said Wolff, who was tied for fourth at the 2020 US PGA Championship.

"But even on the second hole I think I landed it a few feet from the hole and it ripped off the green. Or on 11, my second hole. I think just my attitude about making good swings is all I can really control, it's definitely helped me out a lot and probably a good reason why I'm playing so well right now."

Aaron Wise is Wolff's nearest challenger at eight under heading into Friday's second round, while Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Sergio Garcia and Talor Gooch are a shot further back.

Defending champion Viktor Hovland opened his bid for back-to-back titles with a four-under-par 67.

Norwegian star Hovland is looking to become the first Mayakoba champion to successfully defend his crown.

Former world number one Justin Thomas ended the round a stroke further back following his 68 as four-time major champion Brooks Koepka shot an even-par 71.

Rory McIlroy celebrated his 20th PGA Tour win after roaring past Rickie Fowler and holding off Collin Morikawa to clinch The CJ Cup.

McIlroy carded a six-under-par 66 to soar to the top of the leaderboard at 25 under for the tournament as the former world number one prevailed by one stroke in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Fowler was the player to beat heading into Sunday's final round, the former Masters runner-up teeing off with a two-stroke advantage at the Summit Club.

But Fowler fell following a final-round 71 as McIlroy used an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey for his first PGA Tour success since May's Wells Fargo Championship.

With his latest triumph, it marked the first time four-time major champion McIlroy – who endured a forgettable Ryder Cup campaign with Europe – had won in his season debut on Tour.

McIlroy also became the 39th player with at least 20 wins on Tour, moving tied for 35th on the all-time list.

"It is a big carrot," McIlroy – who played bogey-free after his eagle putt on the 14th – said of the 20 wins. "I didn't know it would be this week."

Morikawa rocketed up the leaderboard with a stunning 10-under-par 62 but it was only enough for second position at 24 under.

Fowler and Keith Mitchell (67) finished tied for third at 22 under, a shot better off than Talor Gooch (62), Sam Burns (66), Aaron Wise (66) and former world number one Adam Scott (69).

Emiliano Grillo tied the CJ Cup 18-hole scoring record with his career-low 11-under-par 61 as he shared 18th, alongside Justin Thomas (64), Jordan Spieth (67) and Xander Schauffele (63).

Brooks Koepka (68) finished 10 strokes behind McIlroy, while Dustin Johnson was a shot further back following his 67.

Former Masters runner-up Rickie Fowler claimed a two-stroke lead at the CJ Cup as Keith Mitchell surrendered his five-shot advantage on the third day in Nevada on Saturday.

Fowler carded a nine-under-par 63 to be 21 under after three rounds and two shots clear of four-time major champion Rory McIlroy at the Summit Club.

The 32-year-old American made his move on the front nine, with five birdies in six holes, finishing with a bogey-free round.

It marked Fowler's best round in three years, and it was only the third time in his career he had hit all 18 greens in a round.

"I haven't been there a lot the last couple of years, so it's nice to be back in that position," Fowler told reporters. "It's been a long time coming. It's been a long road, tough times. We're not done."

McIlroy represents his main competition ahead of the final day, after an exceptional penultimate round with a 10-under-par 62.

The Northern Irishman reeled off five consecutive birdies on the front nine before finishing his round with an eagle after a fine approach and 21-foot putt on the 18th hole.

McIlroy is 19-under 197 after three rounds, ahead of Mexico's Abraham Ancer, USA's Robert Streb and Australia's Adam Scott by one shot.

Mitchell slipped back to 17-under alongside Tyrrell Hatton, giving up his five-shot lead at the halfway point with a disappointing day.

The one-time PGA Tour champion had dazzled with rounds of 62 and 64 on the opening two days but came back to earth with a one-over-par 73, which included two bogeys and two double bogeys. Mitchell sunk a 28-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole to lift his spirits.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth had been among the pack behind Mitchell after two rounds but he had also struggled with an even-par 72 third round.

Spieth is eight strokes behind leader Fowler, following a frustrating round that included one birdie and one bogey.

This year's Open Championship winner Collin Morikawa is 14 under, while former major champions Sergio Garcia (12 under), Brooks Koepka (11 under), Justin Thomas (10 under) and Dustin Johnson (nine under) are well off the pace.

Keith Mitchell built a commanding five-shot lead entering the weekend following another impressive round at The CJ Cup.

Mitchell carded an eight-par-under 64 to soar to the top of the leaderboard after the second round in Nevada on Friday.

The one-time PGA Tour champion dazzled with a first-round 62 and the American backed that up by holing an eagle, seven birdies and just one bogey.

Mitchell is the player to beat at the halfway stage after setting a new tournament 36-hole record at 18 under.

"I spent a lot of time in the last few days leading up to this tournament working hard on my game and it's showing," said Mitchell, whose lone victory came at the 2019 Honda Classic.

"I'm very thankful for that. Just shows you that hard work pays off as long as you're doing the right things."

Former world number one Jordan Spieth (65), Kim Seong-hyeon (63), Harry Higgs (67) and Adam Scott (63) are Mitchell's nearest challengers at 13 under heading into Saturday's penultimate round.

Spieth made his move late in the day with four birdies in five holes to earn a share of second position, while another former world number one – Scott – enjoyed a red-hot finish to his day after going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-par-birdie-eagle in his last seven holes.

Scott's second round included a career-high 14 one putts, having played the final seven holes eight under – his best seven-hole stretch to close a round on Tour.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy (67) shot his second round in the 60s to move into a tie for 19th position, nine shots behind Mitchell – alongside Abraham Ancer, who made an albatross on the par-five 14th hole, while Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama (70) and two-time CJ Cup champion Justin Thomas (67) are a stroke further back.

American star Brooks Koepka lost ground following his two-under-par 70 which left him seven under, while Dustin Johnson bounced back from his opening-round 74 with a 66.

Robert Streb leads The CJ Cup by one stroke following the opening round as American star Dustin Johnson struggled.

Streb carded a career-low 11-under-par 61 to set the early pace at The Summit Club in Nevada on Thursday.

The two-time PGA Tour champion joined Brandt Snedeker (2007 Farmers Insurance Open) as the only players to start a tournament at seven under in their first six holes (in the ShotLink era).

Streb made a red-hot start, having gone birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie in his opening six holes and while he bogeyed the 11th following the turn, the American reeled off another five birdies to close out the day.

"I've never had a start like that, so it was kind of fun," Streb said. "I was trying to stay in the moment as best I can and, I don't know, you just feel like you can start aiming at stuff. Things seemed to be going my way.

"Slowed down a little I guess in the middle, but it was a really, really good round. Even that bogey, I almost made the putt, so it just went really well."

Countryman Keith Mitchell is Streb's nearest rival, while Harry Higgs is three strokes off the pace at eight under heading into the second round.

Sergio Garcia, Viktor Hovland and Hudson Swafford are a shot further back, one stroke better off than Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, former world number one Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

Four-time major winner and 2018 champion Brooks Koepka shot a first-round 67 to be within six strokes of Streb, while Rory McIlroy – featuring for the first time since his dismal Ryder Cup campaign for Europe – posted a four-under-par 68.

Justin Thomas, a two-time winner of the event, had to settle for an opening-round 69 as former world number one Johnson endured a forgettable two-over-par 74.

After a flawless front nine, which featured two birdies, Johnson capitulated with a double-bogey and three bogeys on the back nine.

The United States claimed the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits as they defeated Europe by a record margin with a 19-9 triumph on Sunday.

Padraig Harrington's side had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day.

USA required just 3.5 points to claim the trophy on home soil, and they managed to reach that mark in just the fifth match of the finale as Collin Morikawa finished all square with Victor Hovland.

Europe had early hope through Rory McIlroy, who cruised past Xander Schaffuele to collect his first win at this year's edition but Patrick Cantlay quickly restored USA's dominance by defeating Shane Lowry.

Fellow rookie Scottie Scheffler enjoyed a magnificent singles debut, overcoming world number one Jon Rahm, before Bryson DeChambeau crushed Sergio Garcia with two holes to spare.

Morikawa and Hovland were neck-and-neck until the penultimate hole, where the former landed his iron shot within tap-in range to secure at least a half point and the trophy for the USA. Hovland won the last to halve their battle, but the Americans had the overall match in the bag.

Paul Casey chased Dustin Johnson but could not stop the two-time major champion from winning on the final hole to complete a 5-0-0 record, while Brooks Koepka eased past debutant Bernd Wiesberger despite a spirited performance from the Austrian.

Justin Thomas produced a dominant performance to demolish Tyrrell Hatton, while Lee Westwood - making his record 47th match appearance for Europe - picked up a consolation point against Harris English.

Ian Poulter also maintained his unbeaten record in singles matches to collect Europe's second win on the day, but that proved in vain, with Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood sharing the spoils as they both faltered on the 18th.

However, in the final pair, Daniel Berger edged past Matthew Fitzpatrick, who found the water at the last, as the USA defeated Europe by a record margin, surpassing the previous 18.5 to 9.5 win at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

 

Shot of the day

Team USA were looking for a positive start to quash any suggestions of another repeat of the 'Miracle at Medinah' and DeChambeau provided exactly that in the fourth match of the day.

He comfortably reached the green with his drive on the par-four first, much to the delight of the Wisconsin crowd surrounding the tee box.

The world number seven could have claimed the 'shot of the day' tag with his drive, however, the subsequent 41-foot putt that followed to secure an eagle was both magnificent and important to place early pressure on the evergreen Garcia.

Player of the day

Scheffler, who was a Ryder Cup rookie and has yet to win on the PGA Tour, was sent out early and tasked with tackling world number one Rahm.

The American's rapid start, recording five birdies in the opening six holes, was enough to see off Rahm, who could not fight back from that point onwards and was finished off with three holes to go.

Sunday's singles win made it 2.5 points from a possible three, Scheffler unbeaten in the four-balls in a memorable debut in the Ryder Cup.

Chipping in

USA's winning captain Steve Stricker: "Speechless. Everything about it, these guys all came together. Two weeks ago they came together. Showed me a lot about this group of guys. They had a mission this week and you could tell, they played great and they came together. I just can't tell you - I mean, Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together; that's how much it came together. That shows a lot about this whole team."

Europe captain Padraig Harrington: "Of course we're disappointed. But the USA played well. Look, they out-played us, they are a strong team. They got their plan right. They got some momentum going. They started well. It's been good, no doubt about it. The fans were better - it's tough when you're going away and having no Europeans, but certainly above expectations in terms of an away crowd."

Rory McIlroy (on NBC): "I don't think there's any greater privilege to be a part of one of these teams, European or American. It's an absolute privilege. I've gotten to do this six times. They have always been the greatest experiences of my career. But this team, and what it feels like to be a part of, to see Sergio [Garcia] break records, to see Jon Rahm come into his own this week, to see one of my best friends, Shane Lowry, make his Ryder Cup debut. The more I play in this event I realise it's the best event in golf, bar none."

A little birdie told me...

Johnson entered this year's tournament with a 7-9 record in four previous appearances.

However, he made Ryder Cup history as he went 5-0-0, becoming just the fifth player to do so in a single Ryder Cup and the third since battles between Europe and the USA began in 1979. Previous matches saw teams from Great Britain, and Great Britain and Ireland, take on the Americans.

Johnson knew victory against Casey would see him etch his name in history, and he duly confirmed victory on the final hole, with the Englishman dragging his potential levelling putt wide.

Sunday's single results

Rory McIlroy (Eur) beat Xander Schauffele (USA) 3 and 2

Patrick Cantlay (USA) beat Shane Lowry (Eur) 4 and 2

Scottie Scheffler (USA) beat Jon Rahm (Eur) 4 and 3

Bryson DeChambeau (USA) beat Sergio Garcia (Eur) 3 and 2

Collin Morikawa (USA) tied Victor Hovland (Eur) A/S

Dustin Johnson (USA) beat Paul Casey (Eur) 1UP

Brooks Koepka (USA) beat Bernd Wiesberger (Eur) 2 and 1

Ian Poulter (Eur) beat Tony Finau (USA) 3 and 2

Justin Thomas (USA) beat Tyrrell Hatton (Eur) 4 and 3

Lee Westwood (Eur) beat Harris English (USA) 1UP

Jordan Spieth (USA) tied Tommy Fleetwood (Eur) A/S

Daniel Berger (USA) beat Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eur) 1UP

The 12 singles pairings for the final round of the Ryder Cup have been announced, with the United States looking to dethrone Europe on Sunday.

Team USA hold a commanding 11-5 lead following Saturday's foursomes and four-ball at Whistling Straits, where the hosts boast the biggest two-day advantage since 1975.

Steve Stricker's USA require just 3.5 points to reclaim the cup from Europe, who will need to produce the biggest ever comeback if they are to claim the required nine points to defend their crown.

"That was an important one," Stricker said after USA split the four afternoon matches. "If they blank us, they're right back in the game. I think getting two points and splitting the session is a good outcome for us."

Xander Schauffele will lead the Americans out to start Sunday's play in Wisconsin, facing struggling European star Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy was dropped for Saturday's foursomes having struggled on Friday – the first time in the four-time major champion's Ryder Cup career that he has missed a session. He returned for the four-ball but fell to another defeat alongside Ian Poulter against Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa 4 and 3.

The second matchup pits USA's Patrick Cantlay against Shane Lowry, while Europe captain Padraig Harrington put world number one Jon Rahm down to face Scottie Scheffler.

Bryson DeChambeau and European star Sergio Garcia meet in match four, American Collin Morikawa tackles Viktor Hovland and unbeaten USA veteran Johnson plays Paul Casey.

Elsewhere, Brooks Koepka is set to tee off against Bernd Wiesberger, Poulter and Tony Finau go head-to-head, Justin Thomas will clash with Tyrrell Hatton, Lee Westwood goes up against Harris English, Jordan Spieth faces Tommy Fleetwood and the final matchup is a showdown between Daniel Berger and Matt Fitzpatrick.

The United States continued their dominance on day two of the Ryder Cup, the hosts closing in on the trophy after taking a commanding 11-5 lead over defending champions Europe.

Europe, who have won seven of the past nine editions of the showpiece biennial competition, split Saturday afternoon's four-ball session but face an uphill task to retain their crown in Wisconsin this weekend.

USA – enjoying the biggest two-day lead since 1975 – require 14.5 points to dethrone Team Europe and clinch the cup on home soil at Whistling Straits on Sunday.

Europe gave themselves some hope by winning the opening two matches of the afternoon's four-ball – world number one Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia topping Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth as Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton battled past Tony Finau and Harris English.

But the Americans claimed the final two matches of the day to preserve their six-shot cushion thanks to Dustin Johnson-Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler-Bryson DeChambeau.

Rory McIlroy was benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, sitting out the morning foursomes. The four-time major champion returned in the afternoon but he was unable to snap his winless run at this year's tournament, tasting defeat in his pairing with Ian Poulter versus Johnson and Morikawa.

Earlier, in the foursomes, Steve Stricker's red-hot USA were dominant once again.  

Spieth and Justin Thomas took four of the last five holes to beat the rookie duo of Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger, while Johnson and Morikawa edged past Paul Casey and Hatton.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay won for the second consecutive day, claiming holes nine, 10 and 11 to take control as they overcame Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Spanish pair Rahm and Garcia got Europe's solitary point, as they came from behind to see off Koepka and Daniel Berger despite initially going three holes down. 

 

Shot of the day

Casey ended up on the losing side in his foursomes match alongside Hatton, but he can at least reflect on a remarkable shot at the par-four 14th hole.

Hatton's drive had found the left-hand rough just short of the bunker, leaving Casey with a blind wedge shot onto the green.

Not only did he get it onto the dancefloor, but the Englishman rolled it into the cup to win the hole in style.

Player of the day

The oldest player on the Team USA roster, Johnson has led by example throughout this week. The 37-year-old is yet to taste defeat at Whistling Straits, having swept the foursomes and four-ball alongside Morikawa on Saturday. Johnson did not drop a shot in the final matchup against Poulter and McIlroy, while he and Morikawa also enjoyed a flawless display in the win over Casey and Hatton.

Chipping in

Despite a record-breaking day personally, former Masters champion Garcia told reporters: "It's great but it's not. We need more wins and unfortunately we are not getting them at the moment. I didn't even know. Steve Sands told me on the 17th hole. I didn't know the record and I didn't care. Obviously Jon and I, we did what we had to and what we could, and unfortunately it just looks like the American guys are just playing a little bit better than us, and it's a shame."

USA captain Steve Stricker said: "This team is deep. They are so good and they have had great couple of years to make this team. Everybody came in ready and prepared. They are hitting it well. They came here all on board a couple weeks ago for the final round and they put the time and effort and energy into it."

On the home-field advantage, Dustin Johnson added: "It definitely helps. It kind of keeps you going. It gets you fired up, especially right at the start. But the fans have been great this week. I felt like they have been really respectful to both sides. But obviously we have got definitely a home-field advantage here."

A little birdie told me...

Garcia was in record-breaking form in his foursomes showdown, becoming the player to win the most matches in Ryder Cup history.

The 41-year-old, who made his competition debut in 1999, claimed his 24th victory earlier in the day, moving clear of Nick Faldo's previous record.

Saturday's foursomes results

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Eur) beat Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger (USA) 3 and 1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) beat Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton (Eur) 2 and 1
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (USA) beat Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger (Eur) 2 up
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (USA) beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick (Eur) 2 and 1

Saturday's four-ball results

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Eur) beat Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth (USA) 2 and 1
Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton (Eur) beat Tony Finau and Harris English (USA) 1 up
Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau (USA) beat Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland (Eur) 3 and 1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) beat Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy (Eur) 4 and 3

The United States snatched their biggest opening-day lead at a Ryder Cup since 1975 as they powered 6-2 ahead of Europe at Whistling Straits.

All of Europe's worst fears were realised on Friday as the cup holders left themselves with everything to do over the weekend.

Rory McIlroy, rather than proving a talisman, suffered two heavy defeats, with world number one Jon Rahm's excellence not enough to prevent a landslide as Steve Stricker's American team dominated.

Rahm and Sergio Garcia put the first point of the day on the board, beating Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, but the home side bossed the rest of the morning foursomes to seize a 3-1 lead. Two more wins in the afternoon, and two halved matches, meant another 3-1 session for the USA, who will now look to assure themselves of a big lead heading into Sunday's singles.

There were shots that caught the eye, including an astonishing chip up a steep bank from Spieth in the morning and a 417-yard bomb from Bryson DeChambeau in the afternoon fourballs.

But it was consistent quality from the US team that put them in such a commanding position, with Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele both winning twice, including as a pair in the fourballs.

Johnson said: "Today was a great day for both me and Xander, and we both won our matches in the morning and this afternoon. Couldn't have been any better."

Patrick Cantlay, the PGA Tour Player of the Year, played with Schauffele in the morning as they trounced McIlroy and Ian Poulter 5 and 3, and he was then part of the last match of the afternoon, as he and Thomas came from three behind to halve against Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood.

"For sure I was feeding off JT a little bit, he was carrying me around all day today, he played great," Cantlay said. "Three and one in both sessions, that's a great start. Hopefully we can keep the pedal down and keep doing more of the same."

Europe's fortunes were summed up when Fleetwood hooked his tee shot at 16 into Lake Michigan, with Thomas holing a silky eagle putt to win that hole.

There was a huge boost for Europe, however, when Tyrrell Hatton holed a clutch putt at 18, winning the hole as he and Rahm snatched a half point against Scottie Scheffler and DeChambeau.

Rahm said: "I'm not going to lie: when I hit my bunker shot at 16 and we both had over 15 feet for birdie and they were both within 10 feet, things did look dark, to say the least. Luckily I was able to roll mine in and I told him [Hatton] that we can finish strong and still get this done.

"Not many people are as clutch as he is under pressure and he showed it right here so hopefully this gives him a lot of confidence for tomorrow and we get the ball rolling."


Shot of the day

Spieth conjured up an incredible shot on the 17th after playing partner Thomas had seemingly left him in an impossible position.

Spieth somehow chipped to around four feet away from the pin from the bottom of a steep bank in thick grass beyond railway sleepers. Spieth hurtled down to the edge of the water following his great escape, but his exploits were not enough to prevent Spanish pair Rahm and Garcia claiming the first point of the competition.

The three-time major champion said: "it's kind of one of those shots that you practice as a kid for fun, and you don't ultimately want to have it. And the chances of it going there, you could roll a thousand balls off the green, and it's not going it stay where it was.

"I hit like a 52-degree because a 60 might have gone over the back of my head and just tried to flick it right underneath and hit it as hard as I could, as high as I could."

Player of the day

At his fifth Ryder Cup, Johnson played like he is sick of that losing feeling, having known it three times already. He and Schauffele were a strong pairing in the afternoon, while Johnson guided Collin Morikawa through the morning foursomes. As McIlroy floundered for Europe elsewhere on the course, the US team had a seasoned member of their team step up and lead.

Chipping in

McIlroy: "Xander, Patrick, played wonderful, and Tony – I haven't seen Tony putt as good as that in a long time. When you have got a couple of pairs like that on form, on a difficult golf course where it's sort of hard to make birdies and they go on runs, if you're not quite 100 per cent on top of your game, it's tough. We can come back from 6-2."

Johnson: "Obviously we have a lot of support on our side, and MJ [Michael Jordan] is out there, he's a huge supporter of the Ryder Cup and huge supporter of golf, but it's nice to see him come out and support us."

Tony Finau: "You've just got to enjoy it. All these people out here cheering us on, that's the biggest thing. You have to enjoy it. I learned that in Paris, and the more you can just have fun with it, it seems to keep you loose, and I was able to roll the rock nicely today."

A little birdie told me...

Garcia is Europe's top points-scorer in Ryder Cup history and the Spaniard matched Nick Faldo's record tally of 23 match wins when he and compatriot Rahm drew first blood in the morning session.

Powerhouse  DeChambeau hit an astonishing 417-yard drive on the 581-yard par-five fifth hole, setting up an eagle to put himself and Scheffler one up in their four-ball contest with Rahm and Hatton.

Friday's foursomes results

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Eur) beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (USA) 3 and 1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) beat Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland (Eur) 3 and 2
Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger (USA) beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick (Eur) 2 and 1
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (USA) beat Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter (Eur) 5 and 3

Friday's four-ball results

Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele (USA) beat Bernd Wiesberger and Paul Casey (Eur) 2 and 1
Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau (USA) halved with Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton (Eur)
Harris English and Tony Finau (USA) beat Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry 4 and 3
Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay (USA) halved with Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood (Eur)

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