Europe stay in lead

Europe stay in lead

SOLID SHOW: Europe’s Rory McIlroy celebrates after holing a putt during his fourball match on Saturday. AFP

Europe head into the final day of the 42nd Ryder Cup with Jim Furyk’s American side exactly where they want them after stretching their lead to a commanding 10-6 on Saturday.

Thomas Bjorn’s men began the day 5-3 ahead, ended the morning fourballs 8-4 to the good and consolidated their advantage during the foursomes despite American resistance.

Over the opening two days, there have been few chinks in the European armour with Anglo-Italian pairing Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari leading the onslaught.

Sent out again by Bjorn, they combined to inflict two crushing defeats on 14-times major champion Tiger Woods on Saturday as the American’s miserable weekend continued.

Fleetwood, one of five rookies in Bjorn’s dozen, is the first European debutant in Ryder Cup history to win his first four matches while his union with this year’s Open champion, already nicknamed Moliwood, is the first from Europe to win maximum points from the first two days.

Stunning cameos from Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey and another rookie, Tyrrell Hatton, mean Europe are 4.5 points from regaining the trophy they lost at Hazeltine two years ago.

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas valiantly kept the US afloat but Furyk’s misfiring team require a miracle on Sunday.

Only twice has a side overturned a four-point deficit on the final day although a draw would retain the trophy.

While Bjorn admitted he is “really, really, really” happy with the first two days, he knows it is not over -- pointing to Europe’s “Miracle in Medinah” in 2012 when they overturned a four-point deficit on the Sunday to stun the Americans.

Incredibly, Europe had trailed 3-1 after Friday’s fourballs, before a barnstorming sweep of the foursomes. Furyk picked exactly the same pairs for Saturday’s fourballs -- players with 23 major titles between them -- but this time, with a teasing north-easterly wind up across Le Golf National, they could barely locate a fairway or green.

McIlroy and Garcia withstood a fightback by Brooks Koepka and Finau for a 2&1 victory -- Spain’s Garcia nailing it with a stupendous 25-foot birdie on the 17th that provoked an eruption of roars aross the course.

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