… and with that, I’m out of here. Back in the afternoon, when Europe will desperately try to turn the tide. Thanks for reading. Nighty night!
USA 6-2 Europe
Neither Thomas nor Hovland hit their birdie efforts … and so none of the four remaining putts are stone dead. Fleetwood tidies up first, so Europe are assured of a half. Thomas is up next … and in goes his putt to tie. Thomas and Cantlay tie with Fleetwood and Hovland.
Thomas/Cantlay A/S Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (F) USA 6-2 Europe
Fleetwood very nearly holes out from the sand! He’s got a three footer left for his par. Cantlay then gets even closer; that’s a par, no question. So can either Hovland or Thomas drain their birdie putts and steal the spoils?
Cantlay dumps his second into sand guarding the front of the green. Next up Fleetwood, who follows him in there! Hovland is third up, and he sends his approach over the flag; he’s left with a 30-footer from the fringe at the back. And finally JT, by far the longest off the tee. He takes an age to decide which club to take, and it’s worth the anguish, because he then creams a gorgeous iron into the heart of the green. He’s slightly closer than Hovland. Big putting shootout coming up!
Cantlay and Thomas take turns to split the fairway. They’re in fine fettle. The gauntlet is down at Europe’s feet. Fleetwood follows the Americans down the middle … then Hovland, after being attacked by a mosquito and stepping away from the shot, makes it four fine drives out of four. Given the circumstances, that is quite something.
Fleetwood lags his long birdie putt to kick-in range, and it’s conceded. Neither Hovland nor Cantlay can tickle in their slippery downhill efforts. So it’s down to Thomas, who has a downhill put of his own for birdie and the win, albeit from much closer range. He’s the width of one dimple from dropping it into the left-hand side of the cup, but the ball stubbornly stays up, and we’ll be going down 18. A huge hole for Europe, this. Huge for the USA, too, as they won’t want to cede any momentum, but at least the hosts have plenty of room for error.
Thomas/Cantlay A/S Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (17) USA 5½-1½ Europe
USA 5½-1½ Europe
Hatton guides in his left-to-right slider for birdie, the very least he deserves for that approach! It secures half a point for Europe, anything gratefully received at the moment. He punches the sky in a mixture of relief and celebration, and is warmly congratulated by a smiling Scottie Scheffler, which is a lovely touch in the circumstances. A half is about right, Scheffler, DeChambeau, Rahm and Hatton having all contributed to the drama. Scheffler and DeChambeau tie with Rahm and Hatton.
DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (F) Thomas/Cantlay A/S Fleetwood/Hovland (16) USA 5½-1½ Europe
Thomas has rediscovered his mojo at exactly the right moment! He whips his tee shot at the hellish long par-three 17th to 12 feet! Given the difficulty of simply finding the green, that’s a stunner. Meanwhile up on 18, Rahm is this close to draining a long birdie putt that would win the hole and secure a point. It’s all down to Hatton …
Could Europe salvage half a point on 18, though? Scheffler finds the green with his second, but he’s not close. DeChambeau snags his approach in the fringe, and then Hatton screeches a stunning iron to a halt, eight feet from the flag. He’ll have a very good look at birdie. But on 16, Thomas steers in his eagle putt from the back of the green. He throws his arms wide open to soak up the roar of the gallery, then accept a chest bump from Cantlay! What a time to make an eagle! The USA are all level in the final match, and pity poor Fleetwood, who missed two tiddlers after the turn that would surely have got the job done. But now look! Can he respond?
1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (17) Thomas/Cantlay A/S Fleetwood/Hovland (16) USA 5-1 Europe
Thomas sends a sensational second over the flag at the par-five 16th. He’ll have a look at eagle from 12 feet. What a shot! And it seriously spooks the Europeans, as Hovland mishits, almost a top, while Fleetwood hooks hysterically into Lake Michigan. This match will almost certainly be all square in a matter of moments. A reminder that Europe were at one point three up.
Scheffler sends a huge slice into the gallery down the right of 18 and a comic-book brouhaha almost kicks off as the punters jostle each other to get near to the ball. High spirits, nothing more, a lot of smiles amid the tumult. Concessions have been consumed. But DeChambeau finds the fairway, as do their European opponents.
Some staunch work on 15 from Fleetwood, who sends a confident 12-footer straight into the cup for the half. That keeps Europe in front – just – in a match they simply have to win. Cantlay and Thomas had their chances to win that hole, too, but both saw their 15-footers slide by. Meanwhile nobody can make a lengthy birdie putt at 17 – Hatton comes closest and swishes his putter through the air in irritation – and finally a match will be going down 18.
1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (17) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (15) USA 5-1 Europe
… and both Europeans make it, too! In fact, it’s Hatton who goes closest, arrowing his straight at the flag. He’s slightly unlucky that it bounces a good 20 feet past, but he’ll have the best look at birdie of the four. Some important rakes coming up!
The long par-three 17th has proved one hell of a hole today. Just finding the green is testing enough, especially with the wind up. So hats off to Scheffler and DeChambeau, who both find the dancefloor with fine shots under intense pressure. Over to Rahm and Hatton …
Hatton’s effort is always missing on the left. But Rahm rolls his birdie putt in from the fringe! That’s a fine up and down from sand. However it’s only good enough for a half. DeChambeau can’t make his putt, but Scheffler has a chance as well, and he makes no mistake, holing out to keep American noses in front!
1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (16) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (14) USA 5-1 Europe
Just the two matches left out there now. On the par-five 16th, DeChambeau wedges his third to 12 feet. Rahm and Hatton are both outside him. Some big putts coming up.
1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (15) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (14) USA 5-1 Europe
USA 5-1 Europe
Wiesberger has putted very well this afternoon, for little reward. He rolls in his par putt on 17 to complete a fine up and down, but Schauffele isn’t missing from close range, and it’s another point for the hosts! Johnson and Schauffele beat Casey and Wiesberger 2&1.
2&1 Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (F) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (15) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (14) USA 5-1 Europe
USA 4-1 Europe
… but before the US can close that out, Tony Finau – who has been on fire since the turn – strokes home a six-foot par putt for the half at 15, and closes out the match! Finau and English beat McIlroy and Lowry 4&3.
2UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (16) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (15) 4&3 Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (F) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (13) USA 4-1 Europe
Casey can’t wedge close at 17. Wiesberger gives it a good go from a very thick patch of rough, but he’s still left with a six footer, and it means Schauffele has two putts to win the match. He cradles it pin high to three feet, and this is all but over.
The home fans belt out the Star Spangled Banner. Fair play to them, it’s far from an easy melody to nail, and it’s a pretty tuneful rendition, especially as cold drinks may have been taken. It’s party time, in other words. Who can blame them? Their team are rampant!
Europe are really hanging on in the first match now. Neither Casey nor Wiesberger can find the green with their tee shots at the par-three 17th, both in thick nonsense, and the door creaks open for the hosts. Schauffele finds the dancefloor, and this is almost over. DJ flies the green, his ball ending up in the apron at the back, but still in better nick than either European.
A chance for Scheffler to win the hole at 15. He pulls his eight-foot opportunity wide left, but Europe aren’t dodging a bullet. Rahm was always out of position having flayed his drive down a bank, while Hatton can’t get up and down from greenside sand. DeChambeau wins with par, and the US hit the lead at a crucial juncture. However a little sliver of hope in the lead match, as Casey rolls in a 12-footer to win 16 with birdie, and Europe are still alive. Only just, though.
2UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (16) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (15) 4UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (14) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (13) USA 3-1 Europe
Finau is this close to making his birdie putt. it would have been his fourth in six holes, and enough to close out the match. Just a par, though, which is matched by McIlroy’s two putts from distance. It’s dormie four, though.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (15) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (14) 4UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (14) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (12) USA 3-1 Europe
Finau sends his second at 14 to ten feet. It’s way closer than either McIlroy or Lowry, who are only just on the front of a long green. A fair-to-middling chance that the in-form Finau could close this match out in short order.
Schauffele has a chance to close out the lead match on 15, but his 20-footer is never reaching the hole. It’s unlikely to be a big deal, though; the hole is halved and the match is now dormie. “The Europeans won’t need any cheese to give them nightmares tonight,” quips Wisconsin industry satirist Simon McMahon. “They need to get their heads in the game.”
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (15) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (14) 4UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (13) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (12) USA 3-1 Europe
… and so Fleetwood nearly drains the 50-footer he leaves himself. Golf is a ridiculous game when you think about it. A wry smile washes across his coupon, but Hovland really needs to make this putt. He can’t, though. He sends his dribbler wide left, and this is threatening to turn very ugly for Europe, especially as Finau has just poured another one in on 13 to extend the USA’s lead further in match three! Thing is, the US have, pretty much to a man, been exceptional today. Europe are simply caught in their headlights.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (14) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (13) 4UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (13) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (12) USA 3-1 Europe
Someone in the crowd is dressed as Richard Nixon. Everyone loves Nixon! The gallery are also pretty fond of the brilliant Patrick Cantlay, who nearly screws his tee shot at 12 into the cup. That’s a kick-in birdie, and a penny for the thoughts of Tommy Fleetwood, who must be replaying those missed putts over and again. He sails his tee shot miles over the flag, a very poor response. This will be down to Viktor Hovland, who lands his tee shot eight feet away. A must-make birdie putt for Hovland, in terms of European momentum, such as it is.
… but he shoves it dismally wide right. Fleetwood’s putter has gone stone cold at exactly the wrong time. Two short chances missed in two holes, and it’s the difference between a comfortable lead and a precarious one. With the Europeans needing every single point they can scramble to limit the damage on a difficult day, could this profligacy end up being extremely costly?
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (14) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (13) 3UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (12) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (11) USA 3-1 Europe
A chance for Harris English to win the hole at the par-three 12th. Having stuck his tee shot to eight feet, this could put McIlroy and Lowry in serious bother … but his weak effort dies off to the right. He and Finau are still three up, though. On 11, Hovland nearly slam-dunks a chip into the cup from the back of the green for birdie. Not quite. Par. It’ll leave Fleetwood with a five-foot opportunity, the result of a quite stunning arrowed approach, to win the hole …
DeChambeau followed up his 417-yard drive on 7 with a mishit hybrid on 8. Now he follows his 404-yard effort at 13 with a duffed splash out of the bunker. Consistency not his strong suit. Just a par, and Europe remain level.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (13) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (13) 3UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (11) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (10) USA 3-1 Europe
Fleetwood passes up a huge chance to re-establish Europe’s three-hole lead in the last match. He shoves a short one wide right on 10, and the hole is halved in par. Meanwhile up on 11, Finau drains one from the fringe to salvage a par. Lowry, who must have thought he would be putting for the win, nearly misses his four-footer, but the hole grabs enough of the ball for it to topple, just when it was threatening to spin out. Europe desperately need something positive sooner rather than later, day one notwithstanding.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (13) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (12) 3UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (11) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (10) USA 3-1 Europe
The ever-entertaining Bryson DeChambeau crashes another monster drive. Just the 404 yards this time. He’s pin high at 13, albeit in a small bunker to the left of the green. That is gloriously preposterous. He’s left with a little splash out from the sand for eagle. He’s as exciting as they come.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (13) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (12) 3UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (10) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (9) USA 3-1 Europe
DJ’s birdie run comes to an end at 13. Just the par, and a chance for Wiesberger and Casey to nick the hole. Wiesberger, who is a picture of calm despite it all, nearly steers in a right-to-left swinger over a hump from 20 feet. Casey has a much easier chance, albeit far from a gimme. A straight one from the fringe, 12 feet away. He gives it a fair old whack, and it’s always missing left.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (13) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (12) 3UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (10) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (9) USA 3-1 Europe
… so now’s the time for the world number one to offer some resistance. Jon Rahm makes birdie on 11 to haul Europe back on terms in match two, then nearly aces the par-three 12th! But if that’s not sensational enough, Hatton knocks his to four feet, then DeChambeau lands his effort ten feet past the flag, spinning it back to a couple of feet, right next to Rahm’s ball! They’ll pick those up and move on.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (12) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (12) 3UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (10) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (9) USA 3-1 Europe
Tony Finau is usually the most laid back of men. Not today. He celebrates with a great passion upon raking home a right-to-left slider from the fringe at the back of 10. Hey, he’s allowed! He’s just put his team three up, McIlroy unable to get up and down from the front. More of the wildness at 9, where Thomas rattles a 30-footer in from the front. It steals the hole from Hovland, who was inside and doesn’t hit his own birdie putt. A couple of big moments for the States …
A blow for Europe in the lead match. They desperately need something to happen quickly, with holes beginning to run out. Wiesberger sends his tee shot at the par-three 12th close, to three feet, but though he makes the resulting birdie putt, it’s only for the half, because DJ rolls in a 20-footer for a bird of his own. What a time for the two-time major winner to turn it on; that’s the big man’s third birdie in a row. “Easy! Easy!” chant the gallery, channelling their inner 1970s Scottish football fan.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (12) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (10) 2UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (9) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 3UP (8) USA 3-1 Europe
A little bit of succour for Europe in the final match. Tommy Fleetwood knocks his second to eight feet, and rolls in the putt. His second birdie in three holes wins another for Europe. A wide smile plays across Victor Hovland’s face. The first Norwegian to play in the Ryder Cup is really enjoying this.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (11) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (10) 2UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (9) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 3UP (8) USA 3-1 Europe
Scheffler walks one in on 10. Rahm can’t match it, and all of a sudden, those putts by Finau, Johnson and Scheffler have put a vibrant splash of red on this scoreboard! Europe need something to happen and quick.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (11) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (10) 2UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (9) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (7) USA 3-1 Europe
This is a big one on 11. Casey and Wiesberger take turns to nearly chip in from the fringe at the back. Brave attempts, but one really needed to drop, because DJ has left himself a fairly straight 12-footer for birdie. In it rolls, and the USA are in full control of the lead match.
3UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (11) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (9) 2UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (9) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (7) USA 3-1 Europe
Finau makes his birdie at 9, and there’s some daylight between the Americans and the Irish duo of McIlroy and Lowry. He cups his ear to encourage the crowd to roar, as if he really needs to.
2UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (10) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (9) 2UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (9) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (7) USA 3-1 Europe
The US threaten to pull away in match three. Coming off the back of his team-mate English’s birdie at 8, Finau screeches his second into 9 six feet from the flag. That’s turned up the pressure on McIlroy, who sends a flyer through the green. A rake stops the ball from toppling into a hazard, but he’s left with a hell of a chip, and European hopes may rest on Lowry’s long birdie putt from the front.
The debutant Wiesberger pulls an eight-foot birdie opportunity wide left at 10. That leaves the door wide open for Schauffele and Johnson. Schauffele’s six-footer horseshoes out, but no worries, because DJ has wedged up the bank to four feet. In goes his putt, and suddenly there’s a bit of a cushion in this afternoon’s lead match.
2UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (10) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (9) 1UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (8) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (6) USA 3-1 Europe
English makes his birdie putt on 8, and punches the air as the gallery goes wild. The hosts hit the front in the third match … but they’re pegged back in the second, as neither DeChambeau nor Scheffler can make their 12-foot birdie putts. DeChambeau’s is a godawful misread, in fact, a few feet wide left and a similar distance passed. He allows a confused look to spread across his grid. Rahm strokes in his gentle right-to-left curler and it’s all square again. This is all really tight!
1UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (9) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (9) 1UP Finau/English v McIlroy/Lowry (8) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (6) USA 3-1 Europe
Rahm, DeChambeau and Scheffler have the pin surrounded at 9. The big Spaniard, having bashed his drive the longest, is closest. Back on 8, though, it’s advantage USA, English knocking his second to five feet. That’s a lovely shot from the late-bloomer from Georgia, a two-time winner on Tour this year.
Fleetwood rattles in a birdie putt from the fringe at the back of 6. That turns the pressure up on Cantlay and Thomas, who both have eight-footers for their birdies. It’s too much. Cantlay races his wide left, while JT shoves one to the right. You’d have expected at least one of those to drop. All of a sudden, Europe has a little daylight in match four … and could fatigue become a factor, with both US players having competed this morning, while the Fleetwood feet were up?
1UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (9) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (8) Finau/English A/S McIlroy/Lowry (7) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 2UP (6) USA 3-1 Europe
Paul Casey’s putter finally warms up. He rattles in a ten-footer at 9 for birdie, and the reward for an excellent approach is the win. He halves the lead of Johnson and Schauffele. All of these matches are beautifully in the balance!
1UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (9) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (8) Finau/English A/S McIlroy/Lowry (7) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (5) USA 3-1 Europe
Lowry has a putt to win the par-three 7th, having whipped his tee shot pin high to 15 feet. Not quite. It slips by the left-hand lip. But a big putt drops at 8, DeChambeau stroking a right-to-left slider from 30 feet. Up goes the putter; up goes the volume.
2UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (8) 1UP DeChambeau/Scheffler v Rahm/Hatton (7) Finau/English A/S McIlroy/Lowry (6) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (5) USA 3-1 Europe
Tyrrell Hatton is the recipient of a long and loud haa-haaaaa! from some Nelson Muntz wannabe in the gallery, having pulled a short birdie putt at 7. Such a shame after a glorious tee shot. Also missing a chance to win a hole from short distance: Justin Thomas at 5. Battered by the wind, but that’s no excuse from six feet, a very uncertain prod always curling off to the right.
2UP Johnson/Schauffele v Casey/Wiesberger (8) DeChambeau/Scheffler A/S Rahm/Hatton (7) Finau/English A/S McIlroy/Lowry (6) Thomas/Cantlay v Fleetwood/Hovland 1UP (5) USA 3-1 Europe