THRILLING RYDE FOR GOLF FANS
FRANCESCO Molinari insisted records would not matter if the Ryder Cup was not won after he and Tommy Fleetwood made history in Paris yesterday.
The Open champion and the English debutant became the first European pairing to win four matches at the same Ryder Cup as they followed up Friday’s fourballs and foursomes successes with further wins in both.
They saw off Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed 4&3 in the morning at Le Golf National before returning to the course in the afternoon to beat Woods and Bryson DeChambeau two up.
Their performance helped Europe into a commanding 10-6 overall lead heading into Sunday’s singles matches. Victory for either would see them complete the first 5-0 record by a European player.
Molinari said: “All the records are for nothing if we don’t win the cup back.
“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-anda-half (points).
“We’re getting closer but those four-and-a-half points we’re going to need tomorrow, we’re going to have to fight hard for them.
“They’re obviously 12 great players and it’s not going to be easy but we’re doing it properly, we’re doing it the right way.”
It has been an outstanding introduction to the Ryder Cup for Fleetwood, who has hardly looked like a rookie.
The 27-year-old admitted he was “a little bit emotional right now” as he tried to take in the magnitude of his performance.
He added: “We were really, really good this afternoon. We played really solid, we played really well.
“The piece of history together - it’s very special, but we’re just glad that we’ve done our job for the team. We’ve had a great time.
“There are no disadvantages to playing with this man. Fran has led me so well.”
Meanwhile Tiger Woods was “p****d off” to lose all three of his matches to Europe’s star pair.
The 14-time major winner’s poor record in the competition got worse as he lost both fourballs sessions and the Saturday afternoon foursomes.
It left him with 20 defeats, 13 wins, and three halves in the competition, well below the standards he achieved as an individual.
“Everything feels pretty good. Just pretty p****d off the fact that I lost three matches and didn’t feel like I played poorly,” said the 42-year-old, who partnered Bryson DeChambeau to a crushing 5&4 foursomes defeat after losing 4&3 in the morning with a woeful Patrick Reed.
“That’s the frustrating thing about matchplay. We can play well and nothing can happen.
“We ran against two guys that were both playing well and when one was out of the hole, especially in best-ball (fourballs), the other one made birdie and vice-versa.
“They did that a lot to us. At one point they made, what, six out of eight birdies on the back nine, and only one person was in the hole at a time. That’s the nature of matchplay.
“The three matches we played they never missed a putt inside 10, 12 feet. That’s hard to do.
“Playing against a team like that, that’s putting that well, you’re going to have to make a lot of birdies and we didn’t.
“We’ve got some work to do tomorrow. Hopefully we can get off to a quick start and get up in some of these matches and turn the tide a little bit.”
Europe captain Thomas Bjorn’s decision to rest Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose in the morning paid dividends when they combined to beat world number one Dustin Johnson and three-time major winner Brooks Koepka 2&1.
And although Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren lost 3&2 to Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson and Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter went down 4&3 to Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, the 10-6 margin gave Europe their biggest lead ahead of the final day since 2006.
Fresh from overturning an early 3-1 deficit by winning a foursomes session 4-0 for the first time in the contest’s history, the home side came out firing on day two against a seemingly shell-shocked United States side. McIlroy and Garcia survived a nervy finish to lead from the front and beat Koepka and Finau, before Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton were a combined nine under par in a 3&2 victory over Johnson and Rickie Fowler.
Fleetwood and Molinari, whose win over Woods and Reed was the only European success on Friday morning, then repeated the feat in style.
The fourth match was the only one which went against the home side as Spieth and Thomas beat Poulter and Rahm 2&1, despite the European pair being seven under par.
Francesco Molinari tees off at the ninth while Tiger Woods looks on yesterday