US assert themselves after Europe resurgence in afternoon fourballs

US assert themselves after Europe resurgence in afternoon fourballs
By Reuters

01/10/2016 at 23:24Updated 02/10/2016 at 00:26

Europe started the day well at the 41st Ryder Cup - but the USA hit back to take a commanding 9 1/2 - 6 1/2 lead into Sunday.

Darren Clarke's team had trailed 5-3 at the start of the day but narrowed the deficit to 6 1/2 - 5 1/2 after winning two and a half points out of four in the morning.

The Europeans, buoyed by the irrepressible Rory McIlroy, then took control of the fourballs, leading in two of the matches and all-square in one more on a glorious day at Hazeltine National.

In a long-hitting duel in the top game, McIlroy and Belgian rookie Thomas Pieters marched 4-up on Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson after nine holes of breathtaking golf featuring six European birdies.

Northern Irishman McIlroy, all high-fives, fist pumps and eye-bulging reaction, was as animated as he has ever been in the biennial team event.

But they were the only European pairing to win their game - England's Danny Willett and Lee Westwood lost to JB Holmes and Ryan Moore; Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar were flying the Stars and Stripes for the Americans in match three against German Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia of Spain; and Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed beat Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.