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Ryder Cup 2021: Europe’s hopes dwindle to zero despite Rahm and Lowry’s defiance

Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton showed some welcome fire for Europe.

Europe’s faint hopes of a miracle comeback in the 43rd Ryder Cup were surely finnaly extinguished despite finally coming out of a session level on Saturday.

The second set of fourballs were shared 2-2, but that leaves the USA 11-5 ahead going into the singles, a deficit that has never been breached before. The US need just three and a half from the twelve singles matches to regain the cup.

A sign of Europe’s desperation is Padraig Harrington’s singles draw which sends the hopelessly out of form Rory McIlroy out first against the unbeaten Xander Schauffele. Shane Lowry – who rose to the occasion yesterday afternoon – Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia follow in the European order.

But Europe would really need twelve Rahms to have any hope. The World No 1 remained the sole bridgehead against a total disaster, winning in partnership with Sergio Garcia for the third time out of three.

Saturday at Whistling Straits was a frsutrating one for Harrington, as Europe appeared several times to be mounting a comeback only for it to stall. Stronger winds made for tougher scoring conditions, and reined in the US team’s scoring.

But Dustin Johnson – with four wins from four – led the charge, and Bryson DeChambeau finally had his first win in Ryder Cup play.

Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm bt Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth 2&1

The Spaniards won their third out of three, but Rahm did most of the heavy lifting. The World No 1 eventually contributed three and a half of Europe’s five points over the first two days.

Spieth’s struggles on the greens continued, but the US pair fought back from three down after seven to all square with five to play.

But Rahm stepped in when needed, holing a six footer on 15 and a bomb on 16 to finally break the Americans’ resistance.

Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry bt Tony Finau and Harris English 1 hole

Shane Lowry showed some visible fight and defiance for Europe in his second appearance, but he and Hatton never had Finau and English beaten until the final stroke.

The Irishman revelled in the windy conditions, birdieing the first three holes and had five in ten holes. But although Finau was not holing out from all parts as on Friday, the European duo were somehow only one-up playing the last.

It needed a 12-foot par putt by Lowry to confirm the point, with his celebration being a rare emotional high for a European team that seemed so deflated.

Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland lost to Bryson Dechambeau and Scottie Scheffler 3 and 1

For all his impressive play, Hovland finished four games in the first two days with only half a point. He and Fleetwood let slip a point that might have left Europe with a glimmer of hope.

The lead changed hands five times before Europe edged ahead with a three on the short 12th when both Americans missed the green. But DeChambeau’s birdie on 14 followed by Scheffler’s on 15 turned the game in the US favour.

Scheffler’s birdie on the long 16th – Europe’s failure to capitalise on the par fives all week had been a key element of their malaise – effectively closed out the point.

Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy lost to Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa 4 and 3

Harrington almost in desperation turned to McIlroy and Poulter again, but they were no better than they had been on Friday.

McIlroy, hopelessly out of touch, didn’t contribute a birdie or a hole win in the contest. Poulter did spark a little with birdies on the first, fifth, 10th and 14th. But Morikawa’s successive twos at the short par four sixth and at the seventh, and a par at the eighth took the US three-up.

Johnson was able to take a back seat to the Open champion, who had three more birdies on the back nine to claim the point.