SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The Americans grabbed the early Ryder Cup momentum on Friday, but the Europeans flipped the narrative in the afternoon.
And no one was beat down worse than Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. Well, technically Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari thumped Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas by the same score, but Spieth and Thomas at least made the first third of their match interesting.
Mickelson and DeChambeau? Not so much.
Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren teamed up to dominate the American duo in foursomes, winning 5 and 4 to grab a valuable European point as the home team battled back at Le Golf National, sweeping the session to take a 5-3 lead into the weekend.
“Even if we had played really well, it would have been tough to hang with [Garcia and Noren],” Mickelson said. “They played incredibly well on the front. But we’ve just got to regroup and come out sharp. There’s a lot of golf left, a lot of matches and we’ve just got to come out and bring our best stuff.”
Mickelson sat out the morning session, but some questioned starting the 48-year-old in alternate shot. A wild driver of the ball, his career record in that format has dropped to 5-8-4. Garcia, on the other hand, was a struggling captain’s pick, yet he won his 10th foursomes match on Friday, now one shy of the European record held by Bernhard Langer.
In a match that featured four fresh players — none played in the morning fourballs session, when the U.S. won three of four matches — Garcia and Noren controlled from the start.
They parred the 2nd hole to lead the match, and a birdie to the Americans’ bogey on the 3rd made it 2 up. The 4th was halved with a par, but Noren and Garcia won five straight beginning on the 5th, as they birdied a ridiculous four of five holes — Mickelson and DeChambeau had three pars and two bogeys — to go 7 up at the turn. Garcia and Noren played the front in a five-under 31.
The Americans didn’t win their first hole until the 10th, when Mickelson stuffed a wedge close, the Europeans bogeyed and conceded the birdie. Another European bogey on the 11th led to a U.S. win, but it was given back a hole later when Mickelson missed the green on 12 and, stuck with a bad lie in thick rough, DeChambeau chunked his chip and handed the Europeans a win with a par. Mickelson drained a long birdie putt on 14 to win the hole and extend the match, but it didn’t get past the 15th, which was halved.
“We played some amazing golf,” Garcia said. “I think Alex was a rock. I helped him a little bit here and there and it was great to get a point.”
Mickelson’s overall record is now 18-21-7, and his 21 losses are the most in U.S. history, passing Jim Furyk’s 20.