Bjorn hails his record-break­ers

Fleet­wood and Moli­nari help Europe to 10-6 lead McIl­roy be­rates fan with F-word rant as ten­sions rise

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Tom Mor­gan at Le Golf Na­tional

Thomas Bjorn hailed record-break­ing per­for­mances by Tommy Fleet­wood and “on an­other planet” Francesco Moli­nari last night as Europe home in on a sen­sa­tional Ry­der Cup vic­tory.

With a com­mand­ing 10-6 ad­van­tage fol­low­ing eight straight points for the home team, Bjorn spoke of his pride but urged his side to avoid com­pla­cency and re­mem­ber pre­vi­ous come­backs by Amer­ica as they en­tered the fi­nal day at Le Golf Na­tional.

The cap­tain has kept faith in “fan­tas­tic” Rory McIl­roy, who leads the charge against Justin Thomas in the sin­gles to­day, de­spite an ill-tem­pered ex­change with a spec­ta­tor who ques­tioned his putting abil­ity.

Bjorn said Ital­ian Moli­nari had been “phe­nom­e­nal” and on a dif­fer­ent planet af­ter the Open cham­pion and English debu­tant Fleet­wood be­came the first Euro­pean pair­ing to tri­umph on con­sec­u­tive days in both the four­balls and four­somes. Vic­tory for ei­ther to­mor­row would see them com­plete the first 5-0 record by a Euro­pean player.

“What they have done is pretty re­mark­able,” Bjorn said. Of Moli­nari, he added: “I don’t know what planet he lives on, but it’s not the one that the rest of the play­ers live on.”

Tem­pers flared on both sides dur­ing a sec­ond day of drama as Europe be­came the first side since 1967 to com­plete eight points on the bounce. An away side has only over­come a 10-6 deficit once be­fore – the 2012 “Mir­a­cle of Me­d­i­nah”.

On an at-times ill-tem­pered day of ac­tion, Sky Sports com­men­ta­tors apol­o­gised to view­ers in Bri­tain af­ter sev­eral play­ers were heard swear­ing.

McIl­roy also snapped back at a fan who ap­peared to be goad­ing him dur­ing de­feat with Ian Poul­ter against Justin Thomas and Jor­dan Spi­eth.

Bjorn said he had not been alerted to the in­ci­dent, but added: “If it was a big prob­lem for Rory, he would have men­tioned it to me.”

The cap­tain added of to­day’s task: “History will show me and every­body on that team that this is not over. That’s what it’s all about. You go full bore. Get out there and do all the right things, and this is not over un­til you’ve got the points on the board.”

Fleet­wood and Moli­nari saw off Tiger Woods, who has lost three out of three matches, and Patrick Reed 4&3 in the morn­ing be­fore re­turn­ing to the course in the af­ter­noon to beat Woods and Bryson DeCham­beau two up.

How­ever Moli­nari said their per­sonal tri­umph would mean noth­ing if they don’t win the cup to­day.

He added: “We came here to do a job and it wasn’t to go in the records books or any­thing like that. It’s about the team, it’s about get­ting to 14-and-a-half [points].

“We’re get­ting closer but those fourand-a-half points we’re go­ing to need to­mor­row, we’re go­ing to have to fight hard for them.”

Fleet­wood, 27, a Ry­der Cup rookie, added: “There are no dis­ad­van­tages to play­ing with this man. Fran has led me so well. He de­serves so much credit and it has been such an hon­our to play along­side him.”

Fired up: Tommy Fleet­wood cel­e­brates sink­ing a putt dur­ing his his­toric day with Francesco Moli­nari – the duo be­came the first Euro­pean part­ner­ship to win all four of their matches

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