Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari fire again for Europe on day two of Ryder Cup

Sport360 staff 16:26 29/09/2018
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The team of Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari were electric over the weekend.

Tommy Fleetwood and  maintained their 100 per cent record and condemned Tiger Woods to another defeat as Europe extended their lead in the 42nd Ryder Cup.

Fresh from overturning an early 3-1 deficit by winning a foursomes session 4-0 for the first time in the contest’s history, the home side came out firing on the second day at Le Golf National in Paris.

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia survived a nervy finish to lead from the front and beat Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau, before Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton were a combined nine under par in a 3&2 victory over world number one Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

Fleetwood and Molinari, whose win over Woods and Reed was the only European success on Friday morning, then repeated the feat in style on the back of three consecutive birdies from the 11th from Open champion Molinari after Woods had somehow dragged the match back to all square.

McIlroy, who had not made a single birdie in Friday morning’s fourballs, recorded four of them in the first eight holes, including crucially holing from 15 feet for a half on the fifth after Finau had holed his bunker shot.

Garcia’s birdie on the 11th forced Finau into missing from much closer for a half and the European pair were in complete command before Koepka birdied the 14th and both Garcia and McIlroy dumped their approaches in the water on the 15th.

Finau’s birdie on the 16th raised the possibility of a stunning reversal but Garcia birdied the 17th to seal a vital win.

“Four up and five to play you are thinking get this over and done with and to be going up 17 is not what you want, but we tried to make best of the situation and that three from Sergio is so clutch,” McIlroy said.

“We loved coming out here and the fire and passion he has is infectious and it rubs off on me pretty well.”

Casey and Hatton had been eight under par in losing to Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth on day one but went one better to deservedly get a point on the board, Casey making five birdies in the first six holes and Hatton getting in on the act on the seventh, eighth and 13th.

“It’s amazing, almost lost for words,” Hatton said. “It’s such a special moment. To be here is an honour and to win a point for the team is very special. It was a Casey express train the front nine; I was just trying to help out when I could.”

The only match which went against the home side saw Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas beat Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm 2&1, despite the European pair being seven under par.

However, the eight matches won in a row was the most by any side since the current format was introduced in 1979 and gave Europe an 8-4 lead heading into the afternoon foursomes.

Unsurprisingly European captain Thomas Bjorn kept faith with the pairs responsible for Friday’s historic whitewash, while opposite number Jim Furyk left Phil Mickelson on the bench and gambled on a tired-looking Woods by pairing him with Bryson DeChambeau.

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