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The Roundup

The Roundup: European Brooms

by Josh Culp
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Morning Fourballs: The Americans took early control of the event by winning three matches. Perhaps the most notable win was Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau beating Justin Rose and Jon Rahm. The Europeans led after 14 holes and the Americans led after just one (the 18th). Along the way, they also received a tremendous bounce when Tony Finau bounced his tee shot off a bulkhead at the par-3 16th to set up a birdie. 

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas looked like they were going to runaway and hide in their match but Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey birdied six in a row after finding themselves 3-down thru 7. The Americans held on to record a 1-up victory.

The long-awaited pairing of Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed didn't live up to the hype as they lost to Molinari and Fleetwood. We will see a rematch of this match tomorrow morning as the schedule was just announced. 

Rory McIlroy struggled in his match, failing to record a birdie, leading to a 4-and-2 win for Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler. He found his groove in the afternoon session when paired alongside Ian Poulter.

Afternoon Foursomes:  The Europeans got their brooms out and manhandled the Americans. It wasn't particularly close, either, as the matches ended 3-and-2, 4-and-2, 5-and-4, and 5-and-4. Was it overconfidence from the Americans after a strong start for the Americans? Was it sub-optimal pairings that did them in? Or was it a case of Europeans playing to their ceilings? Maybe it was a combination of all three. Or maybe it was the home-turf advantage as the Europeans have played this course in all weather conditions imaginable. 

The most notable match/pairing was Sergio Garcia & Alex Noren. Some doubted the merits of Bjorn picking an out-of-form Garcia but he put those doubts to rest early. This duo raced out to 5-under thru 9 holes on a day where most matches were hovering around even-par. You could argue that Mickelson and DeChambeau did nothing to apply any pressure but it would have been tough for anyone to beat this duo today. 

Leaderboard: Team Europe leads 5 points to 3 points after day one. 

Saturday Weather Forecast 

Cool temperatures in the morning (low to mid-50s) before reaching 60 degrees by midday. 

Winds may be gusting at 20 MPH+ yet again which seems to favor the Europeans if you are to believe the results on Friday afternoon were aided or partially aided by Mother Nature. 

Quotes 

Bubba Watson: "That birdie they made on 13, where Rory hit it on the cliffs of the water and Poulter made it, that was a big you turn around. That could have easily gone our way and they flipped it on us. They flipped it from trouble to winning the hole. That's a big momentum swing, you know, one hole one way or the other way."

Phil Mickelson: "We thought that this would be a good format for the tee shots, hitting a bunch of irons off the tees. The challenge was, well, we just didn't play our best. I don't know what to say. They played phenomenal golf and I'm not trying to take it away from them. We just weren't at our best either."

Thomas Bjorn: "We believe in it as a group and there were a few guys sitting out this morning that you normally see in the first session, but they were very keen to go out and play this afternoon and prove that we are a team and we do it with all 12. But we're one team and did it with all 12 today. That was the plan through the whole week. We wanted to get everybody on the golf course today and we did that."

Dustin Johnson: "Obviously the wind picked up this afternoon. It's really tough around here. And we played okay. We had a few loose shots, which is going to happen around here. They played really well. They played really solid. They didn't really ever give us anything."

Jordan Spieth: "Yeah, I think definitely there will be adjustments in foursomes. Foursomes, it's a tough one. It's unusual and it's very tough to figure out, you know, what team to throw out where and what guys are rolling, and obviously Jim wants to rest and make sure guys are ready and have enough for singles, as well.

... "We just couldn't get anything going or gain any momentum, and Tommy and Francesco teamed up really well together and are playing great. Our 5-3 loss looks worse on paper, though, than it really was. We will regroup tonight and be ready to go in the morning."

Road to Victory - The Ryder Cup

2016 USA winning 5 to 3 after day one
2014 Europe winning 5 to 3 after day one
2012 Europe losing 3 to 5 after day one
2010 Europe losing 1.5 to 2.5 after day one (weather-shortened)
2008 USA winning 5.5 to 2.5 after day one

Notes: The 5-to-3 score seems to be the magic number, although it was 3-to-5 in 2012 before Europe rallied to win. Europe is obviously in the driver's seat but there are still 20 points up for grabs. 

Josh Culp
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.