Dire Straits: Europe trail 6-2 and face huge challenge to defend Ryder Cup crown

Bryson DeChambeau smashed an incredible 417-yard drive as the United States attempted to overpower Europe in the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

Team USA's Bryson DeChambeau reacts after making a putt on the 15th hole. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Team USA's Bryson DeChambeau reacts after making a putt on the 15th hole. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

DeChambeau took the role of cheerleader on the first tee after being left out of the morning foursomes and saw his team-mates secure a 3-1 lead after Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia had put the first point on the board.

But with US captain Steve Stricker sticking with his pre-determined plan, DeChambeau got the chance to earn his first Ryder Cup point - following three defeats on his debut in Paris - alongside rookie Scottie Scheffler in the afternoon fourballs. The Americans finished the day with a commanding 6-2 lead.

An errant drive on the first struck a female spectator on the shin - it was not clear whether the traditional warning of fore was shouted - but DeChambeau still made birdie to halve the hole against Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton.

Dustin Johnson of team United States plays his shot from the bunker on the fourth hole. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A par on the fourth was enough to edge the European pair ahead before DeChambeau cut the corner on the par-five fifth, unleashing the monstrous downwind drive which left him just 72 yards to the green and set up an approach to four feet for an easy eagle.

Friday foursomes (Europe names first)

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 3 and 1

Europe’s powerhouse all-Spanish duo of world number one Rahm and Ryder Cup record points-scorer Garcia got the champions’ first point on the board in a high-quality opening match. The Americans started strongly by winning the second and did not drop a shot throughout but Rahm and Garcia hit back to lead by two at the turn. They twice led by three on the back nine and, although Thomas holed out on the 16th to prolong the match and Spieth found the green with a remarkable shot at the 17th while falling down a bank, the match ended on the penultimate hole.

Sheffield's Matt Fitzpatrick. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Europe 1 USA 0

Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland lost to Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa 3 and 2

After a seesaw opening which saw the Europeans fall behind and then hit back to lead, the Americans took command after levelling at the sixth. They were three ahead after 12 and looked set to go further in front when Casey found the rough at the 13th but Johnson unexpectedly missed a par putt after Hovland holed from distance. That reduced the arrears to two but it only delayed defeat until Johnson and Morikawa birdied the 16th.

Europe 1 USA 1

USA's Tony Finau celebrates on the 10th green. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter lost to Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele 5 and 3

European captain Padraig Harrington’s decision to pair two of his big guns backfired as both McIlroy and Poulter struggled. At one point the fourth match of the day to tee off looked like being the first to finish as the Europeans lost the first five holes in a nightmare start. They stopped the rot at the sixth and seventh but let a chance to win the eighth slide by. A fluffed chip at the 10th by Cantlay did allow Europe to pull one back and they followed up by taking the 11th, but back-to-back successes at 14th and 15th saw the Americans home.

Europe 1 USA 2

Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick lost to Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger 2 and 1

Koepka and Berger won three of the first five holes to establish an early lead but were not immune to errors and Westwood and Fitzpatrick clawed their way back to all square at the turn. The Americans responded by winning the 10th and 11th and this time they did not let the advantage slip. The next six holes were halved.

Europe 1 USA 3

Friday fourballs

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry lost to Tony Finau and Harris English 4 and 3

McIlroy again failed to produce fireworks as he went down to a second defeat in a day for the first time in his Ryder Cup career. His performance was solid and Lowry was also steady - an unfortunate tumble down a bank aside - but that was woefully inadequate against a player in such blistering form as Finau. McIlroy did score early after an eagle at the fifth but that was soon cancelled out by Finau, who won three further holes while English also bagged the eighth. Finau fittingly holed the decisive putt as the match was won with a half at the 15th.

Europe 1 USA 4

Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger lost to Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele 2 and 1

The European pair were slow to get going and lost three holes in succession from the third as the Americans produced a run of birdies. Wiesberger cut the deficit at the seventh and Casey pulled another back but consecutive birdies from Johnson at the 10th and 11th restored a three-hole cushion for the home duo. Casey’s fine approach led to a winning birdie at the 16th but it was too little too late and Schauffele closed out the match at the 17th.

Europe 1 USA 5

Jon Rahm and Tyrell Hatton halved with Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler

Hatton held his nerve on the 18th green to snatch half a point. Hatton had drawn first blood in a tight encounter with a birdie at the fourth but big-hitting DeChambeau, who began by hitting a spectator off the first tee, roared back with an eagle at the 581-yard par-five fifth after a monstrous 417-yard drive. Holes eight to 11 were traded as Rahm cancelled out wins from DeChambeau and Scheffler with some top-class work on the greens but Europe had to reply again after DeChambeau took the 15th with a par four. Hatton’s attempt to win the 17th lipped out but he took a crucial birdie chance at the last.

Europe 1.5 USA 5.5

Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland halved with Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay

Fleetwood and Hovland paid the price for missing a number of opportunities as Thomas and Cantlay clawed their way back from a three-hole deficit. The European pair overcame the loss of the first hole to power three ahead through eight but a lengthy putt from Thomas began the fightback at the ninth. Fleetwood then missed putts to win the 10th and 11th and Cantlay birdied the 12th to cut the lead to one. Europe then squandered more chances to tighten their grip and Thomas levelled the match after Fleetwood went into the lake at the 16th. The final two holes were tense but halved.

Europe 2 USA 6