Saturday, February 24, 2018
Golf

United States leads Europe 10-6 after Ryder Cup Day 2

MEDINAH, Ill. — Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley helped stake the Americans to their biggest lead in the Ryder Cup in more than 30 years. Ian Poulter, eyes bulging and fists shaking with every clutch putt, gave Europe some big momentum over the frantic final hour Saturday at Medinah.

Right when it looked as if the Americans were a lock to win back the Cup, Poulter birdied his last five holes to win a crucial point and keep everyone guessing.

Heading into today's finale, 12 singles matches, the Americans still had a big lead, 10-6. It was their second-biggest lead under the U.S.-Europe format, which began in 1979; they led by five in 1981 and won by nine. Today, they need 41/2 points to win.

Europe at least had hope.

"The last two putts were massive," captain Jose Maria Olazabal said after watching Poulter stay undefeated in this Cup by rolling in one last birdie putt from 12 feet. "That gives us a chance. It's been done before in the past. "

Only one team has rallied from four points behind on the final day: the United States at Brookline, Mass., in 1999. Olazabal remembers it well. He was in the decisive match when Justin Leonard rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole.

The final two matches Saturday were a showcase of what the Ryder Cup is all about: one brilliant shot after another, birdies on every hole, suspense at every turn.

Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia were on the verge of blowing a 4-up lead to hard-charging Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, but they hung on as Donald matched two birdies with Woods, including a tee shot into the 17th that plopped down 2 feet from the cup.

Their 1-up win kept Woods winless for the first time in a Ryder Cup going into Sunday. Woods and Stricker lost all three of their matches, even though Woods made five birdies on the back nine for the second straight day. Woods was thinking more of the big picture.

"We are in a great spot right now to win the Cup," he said.

Poulter and Rory McIlroy were 2 down with six holes to play against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson when McIlroy made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th. Poulter took it from there.

"We had to make birdies, and wow! Five in a row. It was awesome," said Poulter, who raised his career Cup record to 11-3-0. "I've got the world No. 1 at my side, backing me up. It allowed me to hit some golf shots."

Mickelson and Bradley were flawless in foursomes, matching a Ryder Cup record for largest margin with a 7-and-6 win over Donald and Lee Westwood. They were so dominant together they didn't have to play the 18th hole in any of their three matches.

They didn't play Saturday afternoon, part of the master plan of U.S. captain Davis Love III to make sure his players were fresh for today. Love became the first U.S. captain since 1979 to make sure each of his players sat out at least one match before the final day.

Now he finds out if it will work.

Comments

Dustin Johnson, Ted Potter Jr. tied for lead at Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Dustin Johnson overcame a sloppy back nine in the stiffening breeze by making a 10-foot birdie on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach for 2-under 70 that gave him a share of the lead going into the final round of the Pebble Beach Nat...
Published: 02/10/18
Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship? Maybe

Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship? Maybe

PALM HARBOR — Every year at this time, Valspar Championship officials release a list of players committed to the tournament, those likely to commit and those who have not definitively said no. For the first time since it became a PGA Tour event in 20...
Updated one month ago
Gary Woodland rallies to win Phoenix Open in playoff

Gary Woodland rallies to win Phoenix Open in playoff

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Gary Woodland was surprised to see infant son Jaxson with wife Gabby late Sunday afternoon at the Phoenix Open. "My wife kind of surprised me with him," Woodland said. "I didn’t think he was going to be there. I thought it would j...
Updated one month ago
Record crowd watches Rickie Fowler take Phoenix Open lead

Record crowd watches Rickie Fowler take Phoenix Open lead

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rickie Fowler birdied the last three holes in front of the largest crowd in golf history Saturday to take the lead in the Phoenix Open. Fowler shot 4-under 67 to reach 14 under with a round left at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course,...
Updated one month ago
Fowler back in contention in Scottsdale

Fowler back in contention in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rickie Fowler took a share of the lead into the weekend in the Phoenix Open. He knows from experience the party is just getting started. "Just keep the gas pedal down," Fowler said. Fowler has had a lot of success at TPC Scottsdal...
Updated one month ago

Bill Haas takes first-round lead at PGA’s Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bill Haas’ 9-iron landed to the right of the pin and spun left, settling 3 feet away for birdie on the par-3 16th in the Phoenix Open. "I just tried to play the hole like I would any other hole, even though it’s not like any other...
Updated one month ago
Jason Day wins playoff at Farmers Insurance Open

Jason Day wins playoff at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO — Jason Day calmly sank an 18-inch birdie putt at 8:17 a.m. Monday in front of empty grandstands on No. 18 at Torrey Pines for his first PGA Tour win in 20 months. There were no roars, just cheers from Day’s family and a handful of mates. I...
Updated one month ago

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome defends title at Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Brittany Lincicome beat darkness — with help from floodlights Sunday on the Ocean Club’s 18th green — to win the Bahamas LPGA Classic for the second straight year. The Seminole resident birdied the final two holes and four ...
Updated one month ago

Nine-time European champion Alex Noren takes lead at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO — A nine-time winner on the European Tour, Alex Noren of Sweden gave himself a chance to make his mark in America with 3-under 69 Saturday for a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Noren finished strong, ...
Updated one month ago
Ryan Palmer leads Farmers Insurance Open; Tiger Woods barely makes cut

Ryan Palmer leads Farmers Insurance Open; Tiger Woods barely makes cut

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Palmer is the 36-hole leader in the Farmers Insurance Open. Jon Rahm is right behind, poised to reach No. 1 in the world. And for the first time in 29 months, a PGA Tour event will feature Tiger Woods on the weekend. Palmer finished ...
Updated one month ago