Davis Love and his American team will have the edge after winning three of the four fourballs matches Saturday night in Hazeltine.
Europe had closed the gap to one point with a 2.5-1.5 result in foursomes, the 3-1 win in the afternoon made it 9.5-6.5 in favour of the hosts after a dramatic day’s play.
But there is still hope for Europe as recent history is against the USA as they lost in Medinah despite a lead of four points.
Both captains once again opted for Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose for the final match of the day. The two pairs had met in Friday’s opening foursomes and Friday’s closing fourballs, sharing the honours.
But yesterday belonged to the Americans, specifically Reed, who was in dominant form as Spieth struggled with a wrist injury.
After Stenson made birdies on the first two holes and took a oneup lead for Europe, Reed caught fire midway through the front nine, making three birdies and an eagle in a space of four holes.
Rose’s putter suddenly got a little warmer as he made a 30 feet birdie on the par-three 13th to reduce the gap to one hole, but Reed poured in birdie putts on the next two holes to reinstate the three-hole advantage.
However, Stenson wasn’t done yet as he chipped-in for an eagle on the 16th to extend the match.
The lead pairing of the day was a delight for those who like to see the ball getting crushed – Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters for Europe, and Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka for the US.
McIlroy gave Europe just the start they were looking for when he drained a 35-feet birdie putt on the second hole to take the lead.
Then, on the fifth hole, one of the unlikeliest scenarios played out on the golf course. Koepka’s tee shot on the driveable par-four fifth hole, landed on a spectator’s backpack.
As it turned out, that person turned out to be Pieters’ father Jaak, who was following his son around.
Whether it was the sudden limelight on his father, or whether he just wanted to celebrate the fact that he did not get hurt, Pieters calmly rolled in a 20-feet eagle putt to put Europe two-up.
As things were heating up on the golf course, a pumped-up McIlroy got a fan ejected for shouting obscenity when he was walking to the eighth tee.
Europe were four-up after nine, but Team USA then won two backto- back holes, only for Pieters to restore the four-hole lead with birdies on the 13th and 14th holes.
With the match dormie, McIlroy played two wayward holes – hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the 15th and his second shot into the water with a mud-ball – and Pieters’ pars could not prevent the US from eating into their lead. But a halve on 17th settle the issue.
The match between Sergio Garcia – who was inexplicably not paired with his Spanish compatriot Rafael Cabrera-Bello despite two brilliant outings – and an out-of-form Martin Kaymer against Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar was a story of putts made and missed.
Kuchar sank what must have been the putt of the week on 13th hole – a 60-foot effort that broke massively from right-to-left, moments after Mickelson had made a 40-footer on the 10th hole. On the other hand, Garcia missed a four feet birdie attempt on the sixth, and another from seven feet on the ninth.
The match between Danny Willett and Lee Westwood and America’s JB Holmes and Ryan Moore was decided on the 18th hole after the Europeans lost the 17th to a par.
Westwood had a chance to redeem himself after a peach of a second shot on the 18th hole left him a three-footer for birdie to win the hole and salvage half a point for Europe, but he shockingly missed.