Ryder Cup 2023: Europe lead 10½-5½ against USA on day two – live reaction

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Those three consecutive clutch putts made by Patrick Cantlay could prove so valuable. The USA need their own Medinah-style miracle tomorrow … but you’ll remember Ian Poulter’s similar late-Saturday heroics that year, somehow bagging a point that gave Europe the sliver of hope? Well, that. Europe go into the final day with a huge five-shot lead … but nobody really thinks this is over yet, do they? Please join me tomorrow for what promises to be a sensational singles Sunday. See you then!

Hovland/Aberg v Burns/Morikawa 4&3
Fleetwood/Hojgaard v Homa/Harman 2&1
3&2 Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth
Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark 1UP
Europe 10½-5½ USA

Europe 10½-5½ USA

McIlroy’s effort never looks like dropping … and while Fitzpatrick sets his off on the correct line, he doesn’t hit it. A huge point for the USA, who will still believe they can turn this around! His team-mates twirl their caps in the air by way of celebration; Cantlay doffs the imaginary one he’s not wearing in return. All set up for a big day tomorrow, then! Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark beat Matthew Fitzpatrick and Wyndham Clark 1UP.

Fitzpatrick/McIlroy A/S Cantlay/Clark (17)
Europe 10½-5½ USA

… it’s three huge clutch putts in a row by Patrick Cantlay! He calmly strokes his birdie putt on a gently oscillating route that eventually locks on a line that is clearly inevitable. He steps after it and begins to celebrate just before it drops. Now it’s over to McIlroy and Fitzpatrick; one of them will have to make their putt if Europe are to claim half a point. It’ll be the difference between a five and six-point lead going into tomorrow’s singles!

Clark chips up, in not particularly convincing fashion, to four feet. Then it’s Cantlay’s turn. He’s going for the Mickelsonesque flop too … and he seriously overcooks it, lobbing over the flag and 40 feet past! The tension is palpable, the effect of Ryder Cup nerves evident in the play! Clark tidies up for par, which at least gives Cantlay licence to give his snaky right-to-left birdie effort a good run. He steps up, and …

Clark made some fine up and downs when winning the US Open earlier this year … but he suffers a rush of blood to the head here. He attempts a high Phil Mickelsonesque lob from the semi-rough, and only just gets up the swale and onto the fringe at the front. McIlroy then whips high out of the bunker, but the ball drops on the downslope, the shoulder of the trap, and springs a good 25 feet past the hole.

Fitzpatrick wedges over the flag. He doesn’t quite get the backspin he was hoping for, but the ball comes to a quick stop at least, and he’ll have a look at birdie from 18 feet.

Fitzpatrick up first in the gloaming. He makes the smart play and lays up. Cantlay next. A 3-wood whistled towards the green bounds to the right and nestles in an awkward spot near a bunker guarding the front. The rough not ideal. Clark third up … and he does what he did yesterday, carving one out towards the gallery on the right. But he gets lucky, the ball stopping just short of the really thick stuff in the first cut. Nobody on in two. Over to Rory, who sends it into the bunker front right. On Sky, the living legends Laura Davies and Nick Faldo suggest that while Fitzpatrick is still well up the fairway, with everyone else greenside, he might have the best/easiest chance of going close.

Sky have a quick word with Brian Harman and it’s clear that this afternoon’s matches have given Team USA a huge surge of confidence. “We’ve got a deep hole to dig ourselves out of. But we’ve got a really good team. We’re excited for tomorrow.”

Fitzpatrick’s drive disappears in the thick stuff to the right of the fairway. He’ll be laying up from there. McIlroy meanwhile goes for the aggressive line down the left … and whistles his tee shot over the thickest nonsense but into rough only half-trampled by the gallery nonetheless. The USA are in the box seat here. If McIlroy hasn’t caught a good enough lie to go for the green, the Americans could be one decent approach shot away from grabbing an oh-so-precious point.

Clark first at 18. He sends a monster drive down the middle of the track! Cantlay strokes his down the right-hand side of the fairway. Two balls in the fairway for the USA. First job done. Over to Europe.

Was it ever in doubt? Calmly into the centre of the cup. Take a bow Patrick Cantlay! Europe would be chalking up a point now were it not for those two staunch ten-footers on 16 and 17. Now the USA have the chance of snatching a point that would give the holders a massive boost ahead of tomorrow’s singles showdown!

Fitzpatrick/McIlroy A/S Cantlay/Clark (17)
Europe 10½-4½ USA

McIlroy plays one of the shots of the day. The crispest of wedges sent up onto the green. It looks like he’s hit it way too hard … but he knows exactly what he’s doing, the ball taking a series of little leaps before coming to a screeching halt right beside the cup! Par secured, Fitzpatrick can have a free shy for birdie. He can’t make it with his chip from the cabbage, and this is over to Cantlay. Big, big, big, big, big putt coming up from the best part of ten feet now! He’s just made a huge one on 16; can he do it again?

Cantlay is in fact nearly ten feet away. But we’re splitting hairs. McIlroy is 70 feet from the flag, and down the bottom of a hill. Clark is even further away. He takes putter and gives his ball the what-for, smashing it 25 feet past the hole. Rory will be taking wedge, suffice to say.

Clark makes like McIlroy and sends his tee shot down the swale to the left of the green too. Three dreadful shots … but Cantlay takes it up a notch by sending a high draw to eight feet! Unless something surprising happens here, the final match of the day will be the first one to go up 18.

Fitzpatrick up first at 17. He sends his tee shot onto the bank to the right of the green. Not sure whether that’s gone into the sand, or snagged in the thick stuff. Either way, with the flag tucked at the front, that’s not ideal. McIlroy meanwhile pulls one down a swale to the other side. A big open door for the USA to charge through here!

McIlroy is this close to making his big-swinging left-to-right eagle putt from 35 feet. Just a little too much juice, and it travels 35 feet and one inch, curling just behind the cup. A pick up for birdie, and now the US have two chances to match that. Clark up first from 30-odd feet. He looks to have made it, but it somehow refuses to turn in from the right at the last and stays awkwardly on the lip. But Cantlay rolls in his ten-footer, confidently so, and that’s a half. The Americans will feel much happier about that, not least because of the precarious state of this anchor match! So much riding on the next few minutes!

1UP Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark (16)
Europe 10½-4½ USA

“Wyndham, where’s your ball?” chant some of the more football-minded patrons of the gallery. Miles up a hill above the green to the left, that’s where. The US Open champion scopes out the lay of the land, and lobs a fine chip that briefly threatens to hit the flagstick but ends up on the fringe 40 feet past. To be fair, that was about the best he could do from there. See also Fitzpatrick, who ends up in a similar position after thrashing out of the thick oomska. Then Cantlay splashes out of the bunker to ten feet. He’ll have a decent chance to make a birdie that, if drained, should get USA out of trouble on this hole. McIlroy has an eagle putt to come, of course, so it’s still very much advantage Europe.

Ahead of the singles, Owen from Brighton asks: “Does the home team pick who plays who? Are they randomly generated or do Europe as the hometown decide who Rory or Jon play against? Genuine question I can’t find an answer to.” Both captains will put their order of 12 players in later this evening. They’ll be trying to second guess what each other are doing, and may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised when the two lists are matched up and announced.

Once the 16th green clears of celebrating Europeans, Fitzpatrick clacks his tee shot over a bunker at the back. That may be ugly. McIlroy responds by sending a fade into the heart of the green. Glorious. Not so much Clark’s effort, hooked hysterically deep into the gallery on the left. Finally Cantlay, who finds the bunker back left. Not the worst place to be: Rose just got up and down from there after all. But this is advantage Europe, with McIlroy putting for eagle from 35 feet or so.

1UP Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark (15)
Europe 10½-4½ USA

Europe 10½-4½ USA

Nope! Rose rattles in his right-to-left birdie slider from 15 feet, and that’s the match wrapped up with the minimum of fuss! Rose sealed the deal, but hats off to MacIntyre as well; he’d been struggling until he made a couple of big contributions after the turn. That’ll give the debutant a huge boost ahead of tomorrow’s singles … from which Europe now need just four points to win the trophy. Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 3&2.

3&2 Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (F)
1UP Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark (15)
Europe 10½-4½ USA

Cantlay nearly holes his chip from the back of 15, a brave effort. But realistically this is over to Clark, who can’t make his mid-range birdie putt. Never looked like dropping. The hole is tied. Meanwhile up on 16, Spieth wedges his third reasonably close, Rose splashes out from sand to 15 feet, and Thomas punches out of the cabbage to ten feet. The latter sitting two. Nothing certain there. Over to MacIntyre, whose route to the hole is compromised by a shoulder of greenside rough. He opts to chip, and is reasonably heavy handed, leaving himself a 12-footer. Putting contest coming up. Can Rose or MacIntyre finish the US pair off? Can Thomas make the birdie that may take this match up 17?

Back on 15, Cantlay’s second goes just off the back, while Clark knocks his into the heart of the green. Nobody particularly close; Rory in the sand. McIlroy does the necessary by splashing out to a couple of feet; it’s just as well, because instead of putting, Fitzpatrick strangely opts to chip, and blades a daft one miles past the flag. Pressure does funny things.

Up on the driveable 16th, MacIntyre sends a gentle draw onto the fringe. Rose finds greenside sand. Thomas powers his tee shot over the green and into the thick rough. Spieth then after a long deliberation decides to lay up … only to carve one onto the bank to the front-right of the green, his ball pitching into the water. Spieth has served up some absurd nonsense this week – wedging into the pond at 18 yesterday, for example – but that tops the lot. Europe very close to their first point of the afternoon now.

Coming behind once the green is cleared, Fitzpatrick sends his second into Thomas Country. McIlroy dunks his in a greenside bunker, and the door’s ajar for the USA.

A poor misread by Justin Rose, his par putt sliding off to the left almost immediately. Rose cheekily tries to take the bogey putt, even though he’s already out of the hole; Spieth quickly gives him it, to ensure he doesn’t give MacIntyre the line. Spieth smiles warmly, Rose does too, they enjoyed that moment. But it’s only Rose who enjoys this one: MacIntyre rolls in the par putt, and Europe are dormie three.

3UP Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (15)
1UP Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark (14)
Europe 9½-4½ USA

Spieth and Rose on 15 in three. Thomas in regulation, MacIntyre in the bunker. But Thomas will go first, because though he’s on the green, he’s further way than MacIntyre. A 60-footer for his birdie. He rolls a wonderful effort to six inches, and that’s the birdie secured. Spieth picks up, and the old pals wait to see if MacIntyre can get up and down from sand, or if Rose can make the reasonably straight 15-footer he’s left himself.

3UP Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (14)
1UP Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark (14)
Europe 9½-4½ USA

Europe 9½-4½ USA

Fleetwood’s tee shot at 17 is no good. The drama of 16 addling his mind perhaps. But he gets a lucky bounce off the grassy bank to the right, his ball ending up in the swale. Homa plays the percentages, aiming for the heart of the green, from where he’ll hope to take two putts to almost certainly seal the deal. But he races his long birdie putt six feet past! Fleetwood nearly drains his birdie effort from off the side of the green – he’s one dimple wide on the high side – and then Homa, who has been superb all afternoon, quite rightly has the honour of holing out and claiming the point. What a match that turned out to be! Max Homa and Brian Harman beat Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard 2&1.

Fleetwood/Hojgaard v Homa/Harman 2&1 (F)
3UP Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (14)
1UP Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark (14)
Europe 9½-4½ USA

Back to the Cantlay-McIlroy shootout at 14. Cantlay finds the green in regulation, but McIlroy responds by sending his approach to eight feet. He pours in the putt and screams a cathartic COME ON! Another of those BIG HOURS coming up in the Ryder Cup!

Fleetwood/Hojgaard v Homa/Harman 2UP (16)
3UP Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (14)
1UP Fitzpatrick/McIlroy v Cantlay/Clark (14)
Europe 9½-3½ USA

Farcical scenes on the 14th tee, as Clark then Fitzpatrick take turns to carve their drive towards the cart path down the right. One bound off it, and that’s OB. That’ll be Cantlay v McIlroy. Meanwhile up the hole, Thomas, having been left to fight alone by Spieth can only make bogey, spooked into missing a ten footer after Justin Rose had made a 15-footer of his own for par. Europe go three up!

Fleetwood/Hojgaard v Homa/Harman 2UP (16)
3UP Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (14)
Fitzpatrick/McIlroy A/S Cantlay/Clark (13)
Europe 9½-3½ USA

All hail Tommy Fleetwood! That’s the vaguely Eric Cantona versus Sunderland pose he strikes – just the chest, not the arms – as he turns slowly, calmly, almost without expression, to celebrate a chip-in for eagle on 16! He does so before the ball drops, as it’s obviously heading in. What a dude. That is a sensational shot, a firm yet delicate swish through thick rough, landing just a couple of yards in front on the fringe, then rolling out on its inexorable journey to the hole! Enough for the win, and anything Max Homa can do, Tommy can do even better! Pure theatre!

Fleetwood/Hojgaard v Homa/Harman 2UP (16)
2UP Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (13)
Fitzpatrick/McIlroy A/S Cantlay/Clark (13)
Europe 9½-3½ USA

Matt Fitzpatrick rakes a 25-foot birdie putt across 13 and celebrates wildly. It’s a celebration of relief rather than joy, because Wyndham Clark had knocked his tee shot to six feet, and he makes his birdie as expected. The match remains tied.

Fleetwood/Hojgaard v Homa/Harman 3UP (15)
2UP Rose/MacIntyre v Thomas/Spieth (13)
Fitzpatrick/McIlroy A/S Cantlay/Clark (13)
Europe 9½-3½ USA

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