Collin Morikawa became the first American to win the Race to Dubai after clinching the DP World Tour Championship title on Sunday.

The 24-year-old entered this week's season finale knowing there were five challengers who could pip him to the European number one crown, although he teed off on Sunday with a three-shot advantage over his nearest rivals.

Morikawa showed few nerves as he produced his best round of the tournament, carding a 66 to finish three strokes ahead of Alexander Bjork and Matt Fitzpatrick at 17 under par.

It capped a memorable 2021 for Morikawa, who has won three titles this year, including the Open Championship in July, having only made his professional debut in August 2019.

"It's special, it's an honour, really, to be the first American to do that on the European Tour to put my name against many, many great Hall of Famers, it's special," he said.

"Two years ago, it wasn't in my thoughts. It was, 'yeah, let's go play around the world' but we didn't know what the cards were going to be dealt.

"To have this chance and finally close it out, and not just closing it out with a top 10 or something, but to actually win the DP World Tour Championship, which concluded with the Race to Dubai, not a better way to finish – what a great way to finish.

"To close out the season-long race, the Race to Dubai, it means everything. Obviously, I won some big events and that obviously helped catapult me up to the top."

Rory McIlroy, who led after the first day at Jumeirah Golf Estates, finished in a tie for sixth with Dean Burmester and Ian Poulter after a final round of 74 left him at 12 under.

The best performance of the day belonged to Bernd Wiesberger, who carded a brilliant 63 to finish on two over after only managing 76, 76 and 75 in the first three rounds.

Rory McIlroy got himself back into the lead at the DP World Tour Championship, holding a slender one-shot advantage heading into the final round of the season.

McIlroy, a three-time European Tour champion, dropped two shots on the 18th on Friday, handing a share of the lead to Sam Horsfield, Shane Lowry and John Catlin in Dubai.

Yet Lowry and Catlin both struck costly one-under par 71s on Saturday, with McIlroy going round in 67 to propel himself back in front.

The Northern Irishman stands on 14 under, though had a wobble on the 17th when he almost found the water. Luck was on his side as the ball nestled on a rock on the water's edge.

McIlory bravely decided to take the shot on, despite the risk the ball could have ricocheted back into the wet. It paid off, with the former world number one getting it across the green and then almost chipping in to make par, but he had to settle for a bogey, his second of the day after an awful tee shot on the opening hole.

He got that shot back with a birdie on the last to put the pressure on Horsfield, who could only bogey to finish on 67 and 13 under for the week heading into what looks set to be an enthralling final day.

"I thought I did well considering the start," said McIlroy, who is hunting his third DP World Tour Championship title.

"I responded well with birdies on two and three, ended up turning on three-under par. The back nine was good, gave myself good chances on 14 and 16 but didn't convert those.

"A bogey on 17 that in the end was a good bogey, I just thought it was important to make birdie at the last to get into the final group."

Robert MacIntyre was the big riser, the Scot going around in five under to take a share of third place with Alexander Bjork. 

MacIntyre's round included a 70-foot birdie and 20-foot eagle on the front nine, while he then birdied four holes out of five only to slip up with a bogey on the 18th.

Level at T5 and within three of the lead with Lowry, Catlin and Joachim Hansen is Collin Morikawa, who still holds a lead in the Race to Dubai rankings.

The 24-year-old - who is aiming to become the first American to win the European Tour – carded a bogey free 69, though will be disappointed to only birdie three holes.

Given none of the other contenders in the Race to Dubai are within six shots of the lead, Morikawa seems all set to be crowned European Tour champion, barring a collapse on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy surrendered a two-shot lead at the DP World Tour Championship, with Shane Lowry one of those to rein him in as Collin Morikawa kept himself at the top of the Race to Dubai standings.

Three-time Race to Dubai winner McIlroy carded a brilliant 65 on Thursday, but he found the water on the last and his double bogey meant he recorded a two-under par 70, giving up the lead heading into the weekend at Jumeirah Golf Estates in the process.

Lowry, the 2019 Open champion, overtook McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard with a bogey-free 65, with American John Catlin left to lament a bogey on the third that ultimately cost him the lead. The duo are joined on 10 under by Sam Horsfield, who followed up Thursday's 68 by going around in 66.

Horsfield had to recover from dropping shots on the 16th and 17th, with a thumping, 369-yard drive setting him up nicely to birdie on the last and take a share of the lead.

"It's two more days left and then the end of a long year-and-a-half, I suppose, long couple of years," said Lowry. 

"I'm looking forward to giving everything and leaving it on the course this weekend and hopefully I'm there near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon."

Meanwhile, history hunting Morikawa kept himself in contention with a second straight score of 68 and sits level on eight-under with Martin Kaymer, one shot adrift of McIlroy and Alexander Bjork, whose sole victory on the European Tour came at the 2018 China Open.

The American currently holds the lead in the Race to Dubai by three shots. If he can hold onto his advantage, he will be the first American to be crowned European Tour champion.

In Morikawa's opinion, however, the best form of defence is attack, as he looks to seal his place in the record books by clinching victory in the United Arab Emirates.

"I'm aware but I've got to focus on the weekend," The Open winner said. "I want to win this tournament. That's all I care about, winning this tournament and everything else will kind of settle itself. 

"That's my focus. We've played a decent two days and we've got two more rounds to go."

Tommy Fleetwood, who won the Tour in 2017, endured a frustrating day as he went round level par, leaving him tied with six others, including Ian Poulter, on two under.

Rory McIlroy leads the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after the opening round, but Race to Dubai frontrunner Collin Morikawa was Thursday's big winner.

A seven-under 65 gave McIlroy a two-stroke advantage at the top of the leaderboard at Jumeirah Golf Estates, with Tapio Pulkkanen, Joachim B. Hansen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout in a three-way tie behind him.

McIlroy, whose 14th and most recent European Tour win came at the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2019, made a flying birdie-eagle start and only dropped a single shot all day at the ninth.

After turning in 31, the Northern Irishman protected his day-one advantage over a steady back nine.

McIlroy, who beat Morikawa at the CJ Cup last month, believes he has "got [his] golf game back" since contributing only a single point to Europe's Ryder Cup defeat.

"I'm just excited for the road ahead, because I feel like I'm on the right path," he said.

But the main focus this week is on the Race to Dubai, in which McIlroy is 20th and out of the running.

First-placed Morikawa has competition chiefly from fellow American Billy Horschel this week following Jon Rahm's withdrawal, although four other players could also yet scoop the seasonal title with 2,000 points on the line in Dubai.

Of the six contenders, Morikawa is best placed heading into Friday after his four-under 68 secured a share of fifth.

Crucially, Horschel endured a difficult start as three bogeys across four holes on the back nine set him back and he carded a two-over 74 – a hugely damaging deficit given his need to outperform Morikawa.

Rounds of 70 for Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey kept the English trio in the mix, although each need to win and see Morikawa struggle. Min Woo Lee, the sixth man in contention, has work to do from even par.

Collin Morikawa has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour ahead of this week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Morikawa becomes only the fifth American to be given the accolade after Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Patrick Reed.

The 24-year-old has been given the honour in recognition of his debut victory at The Open at Royal St Georges in July.

His two-shot victory over Jordan Spieth at Sandwich was the second time he had won a Major Championship on debut after also lifting the 2020 US PGA Championship in San Francisco.

Morikawa told the European Tour's official website: "Two and a half years ago when I turned pro, I had no clue what life was going to put in front of me, but I'm very thankful for what I've been able to accomplish.

"We want to grow the game as much as we can, and this is an important piece of that. So I'm going to honour this and this is going to be very special and it is definitely a top highlight so far since turning pro, so thank you."

Morikawa goes into the season finale as leader of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, and is hoping to become the first American to win it.

Hideki Matsuyama will head into Sunday with a slender one-shot lead in the Zozo Championship on home soil.

The 2021 Masters champion carded a 68 to remain a stroke clear of Cameron Tringale on 10 under in Chiba, Japan.

Matsuyama had looked set for a more comfortable night's sleep on Saturday, but a bogey six at the last coupled with a birdie on the same hole for Tringale cut his advantage.

Sebastian Munoz, Brendan Steele and Matt Wallace all sit on six under par, with Branden Grace and Tommy Fleetwood on the fringes of contention a shot further back.

Reigning Open champion Collin Morikawa's third-round 67 put him within six of the leader.

Hideki Matsuyama has hit the front at the halfway mark of the Zozo Championship on home soil, holding a one-shot lead from Cameron Tringale.

The 2021 Masters champion, who had been second following the opening day, carded a two-under-par 68 on the second round to claim the lead at eight under after 36 holes.

Opening-round leader Hiroshi Iwata struggled with a three-over-par 73 to slip four shots off the pace.

Matsuyama had three birdies and one bogey for his round in cold and rainy conditions in Chiba.

Tringale moved up the leaderboard with a four-under 66 that included five birdies, finishing by sinking a long putt to be within one shot of Matsuyama.

Englishman Matt Wallace birdied his final three holes to be two shots behind the Japanese leader and level with Brendan Steele at six under after 36 holes.

Tommy Fleetwood is five under, with Sebastian Munoz equaling Tringale's round to be four under after two days alongside a group of five other players including Iwata.

Open champion Collin Morikawa is seven strokes behind after a two-under 68, while Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele struggled with a round of 74 to be 12 shots back.

Hiroshi Iwata holds a one-shot lead and Hideki Matsuyama also made a promising start to the Zozo Championship on home soil.

Appearing in a PGA Tour event for the first time since the 2017 season, Iwata got off to a flyer with a seven-under 63 at the Narashino Country Club on Thursday.

The 40-year-old went out in 32 and finished his round with an eagle three to top the leaderboard after making four birdies and just the one bogey on the back nine.

Matsuyama is just a shot off the lead following a blemish-free first round of 64 in the Tokyo suburbs, where the tournament could not be staged last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Masters champion started with two birdies in the opening three holes and moved to three under with another gain at the sixth, before making another three birdies after the turn.

Joaquin Niemann also shot a bogey-free 64 to take a share of second place with home favourite Matsuyama.

Englishman Matt Wallace is just two strokes off the lead, having dropped a couple of shots on the back nine.

World number three Collin Morikawa has work to do following an opening one-over 71, a stroke behind Ryder Cup team-mate Xander Schauffele.

Rory McIlroy celebrated his 20th PGA Tour win after roaring past Rickie Fowler and holding off Collin Morikawa to clinch The CJ Cup.

McIlroy carded a six-under-par 66 to soar to the top of the leaderboard at 25 under for the tournament as the former world number one prevailed by one stroke in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Fowler was the player to beat heading into Sunday's final round, the former Masters runner-up teeing off with a two-stroke advantage at the Summit Club.

But Fowler fell following a final-round 71 as McIlroy used an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey for his first PGA Tour success since May's Wells Fargo Championship.

With his latest triumph, it marked the first time four-time major champion McIlroy – who endured a forgettable Ryder Cup campaign with Europe – had won in his season debut on Tour.

McIlroy also became the 39th player with at least 20 wins on Tour, moving tied for 35th on the all-time list.

"It is a big carrot," McIlroy – who played bogey-free after his eagle putt on the 14th – said of the 20 wins. "I didn't know it would be this week."

Morikawa rocketed up the leaderboard with a stunning 10-under-par 62 but it was only enough for second position at 24 under.

Fowler and Keith Mitchell (67) finished tied for third at 22 under, a shot better off than Talor Gooch (62), Sam Burns (66), Aaron Wise (66) and former world number one Adam Scott (69).

Emiliano Grillo tied the CJ Cup 18-hole scoring record with his career-low 11-under-par 61 as he shared 18th, alongside Justin Thomas (64), Jordan Spieth (67) and Xander Schauffele (63).

Brooks Koepka (68) finished 10 strokes behind McIlroy, while Dustin Johnson was a shot further back following his 67.

The United States claimed the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits as they defeated Europe by a record margin with a 19-9 triumph on Sunday.

Padraig Harrington's side had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day.

USA required just 3.5 points to claim the trophy on home soil, and they managed to reach that mark in just the fifth match of the finale as Collin Morikawa finished all square with Victor Hovland.

Europe had early hope through Rory McIlroy, who cruised past Xander Schaffuele to collect his first win at this year's edition but Patrick Cantlay quickly restored USA's dominance by defeating Shane Lowry.

Fellow rookie Scottie Scheffler enjoyed a magnificent singles debut, overcoming world number one Jon Rahm, before Bryson DeChambeau crushed Sergio Garcia with two holes to spare.

Morikawa and Hovland were neck-and-neck until the penultimate hole, where the former landed his iron shot within tap-in range to secure at least a half point and the trophy for the USA. Hovland won the last to halve their battle, but the Americans had the overall match in the bag.

Paul Casey chased Dustin Johnson but could not stop the two-time major champion from winning on the final hole to complete a 5-0-0 record, while Brooks Koepka eased past debutant Bernd Wiesberger despite a spirited performance from the Austrian.

Justin Thomas produced a dominant performance to demolish Tyrrell Hatton, while Lee Westwood - making his record 47th match appearance for Europe - picked up a consolation point against Harris English.

Ian Poulter also maintained his unbeaten record in singles matches to collect Europe's second win on the day, but that proved in vain, with Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood sharing the spoils as they both faltered on the 18th.

However, in the final pair, Daniel Berger edged past Matthew Fitzpatrick, who found the water at the last, as the USA defeated Europe by a record margin, surpassing the previous 18.5 to 9.5 win at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

 

Shot of the day

Team USA were looking for a positive start to quash any suggestions of another repeat of the 'Miracle at Medinah' and DeChambeau provided exactly that in the fourth match of the day.

He comfortably reached the green with his drive on the par-four first, much to the delight of the Wisconsin crowd surrounding the tee box.

The world number seven could have claimed the 'shot of the day' tag with his drive, however, the subsequent 41-foot putt that followed to secure an eagle was both magnificent and important to place early pressure on the evergreen Garcia.

Player of the day

Scheffler, who was a Ryder Cup rookie and has yet to win on the PGA Tour, was sent out early and tasked with tackling world number one Rahm.

The American's rapid start, recording five birdies in the opening six holes, was enough to see off Rahm, who could not fight back from that point onwards and was finished off with three holes to go.

Sunday's singles win made it 2.5 points from a possible three, Scheffler unbeaten in the four-balls in a memorable debut in the Ryder Cup.

Chipping in

USA's winning captain Steve Stricker: "Speechless. Everything about it, these guys all came together. Two weeks ago they came together. Showed me a lot about this group of guys. They had a mission this week and you could tell, they played great and they came together. I just can't tell you - I mean, Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together; that's how much it came together. That shows a lot about this whole team."

Europe captain Padraig Harrington: "Of course we're disappointed. But the USA played well. Look, they out-played us, they are a strong team. They got their plan right. They got some momentum going. They started well. It's been good, no doubt about it. The fans were better - it's tough when you're going away and having no Europeans, but certainly above expectations in terms of an away crowd."

Rory McIlroy (on NBC): "I don't think there's any greater privilege to be a part of one of these teams, European or American. It's an absolute privilege. I've gotten to do this six times. They have always been the greatest experiences of my career. But this team, and what it feels like to be a part of, to see Sergio [Garcia] break records, to see Jon Rahm come into his own this week, to see one of my best friends, Shane Lowry, make his Ryder Cup debut. The more I play in this event I realise it's the best event in golf, bar none."

A little birdie told me...

Johnson entered this year's tournament with a 7-9 record in four previous appearances.

However, he made Ryder Cup history as he went 5-0-0, becoming just the fifth player to do so in a single Ryder Cup and the third since battles between Europe and the USA began in 1979. Previous matches saw teams from Great Britain, and Great Britain and Ireland, take on the Americans.

Johnson knew victory against Casey would see him etch his name in history, and he duly confirmed victory on the final hole, with the Englishman dragging his potential levelling putt wide.

Sunday's single results

Rory McIlroy (Eur) beat Xander Schauffele (USA) 3 and 2

Patrick Cantlay (USA) beat Shane Lowry (Eur) 4 and 2

Scottie Scheffler (USA) beat Jon Rahm (Eur) 4 and 3

Bryson DeChambeau (USA) beat Sergio Garcia (Eur) 3 and 2

Collin Morikawa (USA) tied Victor Hovland (Eur) A/S

Dustin Johnson (USA) beat Paul Casey (Eur) 1UP

Brooks Koepka (USA) beat Bernd Wiesberger (Eur) 2 and 1

Ian Poulter (Eur) beat Tony Finau (USA) 3 and 2

Justin Thomas (USA) beat Tyrrell Hatton (Eur) 4 and 3

Lee Westwood (Eur) beat Harris English (USA) 1UP

Jordan Spieth (USA) tied Tommy Fleetwood (Eur) A/S

Daniel Berger (USA) beat Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eur) 1UP

Collin Morikawa holed the putt that guaranteed the United States would win the Ryder Cup as the hosts headed for a wide-margin triumph over Europe on Sunday at Whistling Straits.

Defending champions Europe entered the final day 11-5 down and required the biggest comeback in the history of the competition, with the USA needing just 3.5 points to win back the trophy.

The hosts built a 6-2 lead after day one, which increased to a six-shot advantage after Saturday afternoon's four-ball sessions, despite a minor fightback from Padraig Harrington's team.

Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton combined with Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, who did not lose a game together, to invoke memories of the 'Miracle at Medinah', but Steve Stricker's men quashed prospects of a comeback on Sunday in the singles.

Rory McIlroy kicked off Europe's hopes of a comeback as he managed his first win of this year's cup by cruising past Xander Schauffele, before Patrick Cantlay cancelled out the impact of that victory out by defeating Lowry.

Scottie Scheffler fired in five birdies in the opening six holes and there was no coming back for Rahm in that match, before Bryson DeChambeau put the American side within touching distance after downing all-time leading Ryder Cup point scorer Garcia.

Morikawa sealed the deal in just the fifth match as he launched his tee shot within tap-in range on the 17th, and with opponent Viktor Hovland unable to sink a long putt, the USA were assured of at least the half point they required to secure the trophy.

Morikawa squandered a chance on the final hole to win his match outright, but his half point was enough to secure the USA's third win in the last 10 meetings between the teams.

Dustin Johnson also had an opportunity to secure the winning point on the 17th, but he pushed his putt wide against Paul Casey as he was made to wait for the confirmation of his 5-0 record, before Brooks Koepka coasted past Bernd Wiesberger to add shine to an emphatic triumph.

Johnson was attempting to become just the third player to achieve the perfect record in the era of Europe versus the United States, after Larry Nelson in 1979 and Francesco Molinari in 2018.

The USA were looking good to possibly pass 20 points, which would be a record-breaking haul as the hosts dominated in Wisconsin from start to finish.

Morikawa said of the victory moment: "It means so much. I wanted to make that putt. It was a great match against Viktor. To clinch this and bring the cup back to home soil, it feels so good."

USA captain Steve Stricker said on The Golf Channel: "These guys came together two weeks ago. They had a mission this week, you could tell it. They played great. Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together, that's how much it came together. That shows a lot about this whole team.

"This is a new era for USA golf. They come with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, a lot of game. They're just so good."

Collin Morikawa described the USA's Ryder Cup triumph over Europe as a "dominant win" after he claimed the decisive half point at Whistling Straits.

Defending champions Europe entered the final day 11-5 down and required the biggest comeback in the history of the competition, with the USA needing just 3.5 points to win back the trophy.

Rory McIlroy kicked off Europe's hopes of a comeback as he managed his first win of this year's event by cruising past Xander Schauffele, before Patrick Cantlay quashed the impact of that victory out by defeating Shane Lowry.

Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau put the American side within touching distance, and Morikawa sealed the deal in a tight match against Viktor Hovland.

Speaking to the Golf Channel, current Open champion Morikawa said: "It means so much, everything, wanting to make that putt. It was a great match against Viktor.

"I don't think he really missed too many shots. I had to earn my birdies, but to clinch this and bring the cup back to home soil, it feels so good.

"We know paper means nothing, it really doesn't. Even though we knew we had a very strong team and a lot of guys in the top 10 in the world, it means nothing until you hit that first tee shot.

"The guys pulled through, and we didn't let up. All 12 of the guys on my team, including myself, we just want to represent the United States as best we could, and I think we did a pretty good job.

"It was huge. I don't think it's just a win. I think this is a dominant win. Everyone showed up and it proves that all 12 of us, when we are called upon, it's time and we show up and I'm glad to see that."

American captain Steve Stricker fought back the tears as he praised his players.

"Two weeks ago they came together. Showed me a lot about this group of guys. They all showed up for the practice rounds, all the assistant captains showed up at the practice rounds," Stricker said.

"They had a mission this week and you could tell, they played great and they came together.

"This is a new era for USA golf. They are young. They come with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, a lot of game. They are just so good. So, it's exciting to see these guys and exciting for us in Wisconsin to experience this."

Collin Morikawa holed the putt that guaranteed the United States would win the Ryder Cup as the hosts headed for a wide-margin triumph over Europe on Sunday at Whistling Straits.

Defending champions Europe entered the final day 11-5 down and required the biggest comeback in the history of the competition, with the USA needing just 3.5 points to win back the trophy.

The hosts built a 6-2 lead after day one, which increased to a six-shot advantage after Saturday afternoon's four-ball sessions, despite a minor fightback from Padraig Harrington's team.

Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton combined with Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, who did not lose a game together, to invoke memories of the 'Miracle at Medinah', but Steve Stricker's men quashed prospects of a comeback on Sunday in the singles.

Rory McIlroy kicked off Europe's hopes of a comeback as he managed his first win of this year's cup by cruising past Xander Schauffele, before Patrick Cantlay cancelled out the impact of that victory out by defeating Lowry.

Scottie Scheffler fired in five birdies in the opening six holes and there was no coming back for Rahm in that match, before Bryson DeChambeau put the American side within touching distance after downing all-time leading Ryder Cup point scorer Garcia.

Morikawa sealed the deal in just the fifth match as he launched his tee shot within tap-in range on the 17th, and with Hovland unable to sink a long putt, the USA were assured of at least the half point they required to secure the trophy.

The 12 singles pairings for the final round of the Ryder Cup have been announced, with the United States looking to dethrone Europe on Sunday.

Team USA hold a commanding 11-5 lead following Saturday's foursomes and four-ball at Whistling Straits, where the hosts boast the biggest two-day advantage since 1975.

Steve Stricker's USA require just 3.5 points to reclaim the cup from Europe, who will need to produce the biggest ever comeback if they are to claim the required nine points to defend their crown.

"That was an important one," Stricker said after USA split the four afternoon matches. "If they blank us, they're right back in the game. I think getting two points and splitting the session is a good outcome for us."

Xander Schauffele will lead the Americans out to start Sunday's play in Wisconsin, facing struggling European star Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy was dropped for Saturday's foursomes having struggled on Friday – the first time in the four-time major champion's Ryder Cup career that he has missed a session. He returned for the four-ball but fell to another defeat alongside Ian Poulter against Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa 4 and 3.

The second matchup pits USA's Patrick Cantlay against Shane Lowry, while Europe captain Padraig Harrington put world number one Jon Rahm down to face Scottie Scheffler.

Bryson DeChambeau and European star Sergio Garcia meet in match four, American Collin Morikawa tackles Viktor Hovland and unbeaten USA veteran Johnson plays Paul Casey.

Elsewhere, Brooks Koepka is set to tee off against Bernd Wiesberger, Poulter and Tony Finau go head-to-head, Justin Thomas will clash with Tyrrell Hatton, Lee Westwood goes up against Harris English, Jordan Spieth faces Tommy Fleetwood and the final matchup is a showdown between Daniel Berger and Matt Fitzpatrick.

The United States continued their dominance on day two of the Ryder Cup, the hosts closing in on the trophy after taking a commanding 11-5 lead over defending champions Europe.

Europe, who have won seven of the past nine editions of the showpiece biennial competition, split Saturday afternoon's four-ball session but face an uphill task to retain their crown in Wisconsin this weekend.

USA – enjoying the biggest two-day lead since 1975 – require 14.5 points to dethrone Team Europe and clinch the cup on home soil at Whistling Straits on Sunday.

Europe gave themselves some hope by winning the opening two matches of the afternoon's four-ball – world number one Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia topping Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth as Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton battled past Tony Finau and Harris English.

But the Americans claimed the final two matches of the day to preserve their six-shot cushion thanks to Dustin Johnson-Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler-Bryson DeChambeau.

Rory McIlroy was benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, sitting out the morning foursomes. The four-time major champion returned in the afternoon but he was unable to snap his winless run at this year's tournament, tasting defeat in his pairing with Ian Poulter versus Johnson and Morikawa.

Earlier, in the foursomes, Steve Stricker's red-hot USA were dominant once again.  

Spieth and Justin Thomas took four of the last five holes to beat the rookie duo of Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger, while Johnson and Morikawa edged past Paul Casey and Hatton.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay won for the second consecutive day, claiming holes nine, 10 and 11 to take control as they overcame Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Spanish pair Rahm and Garcia got Europe's solitary point, as they came from behind to see off Koepka and Daniel Berger despite initially going three holes down. 

 

Shot of the day

Casey ended up on the losing side in his foursomes match alongside Hatton, but he can at least reflect on a remarkable shot at the par-four 14th hole.

Hatton's drive had found the left-hand rough just short of the bunker, leaving Casey with a blind wedge shot onto the green.

Not only did he get it onto the dancefloor, but the Englishman rolled it into the cup to win the hole in style.

Player of the day

The oldest player on the Team USA roster, Johnson has led by example throughout this week. The 37-year-old is yet to taste defeat at Whistling Straits, having swept the foursomes and four-ball alongside Morikawa on Saturday. Johnson did not drop a shot in the final matchup against Poulter and McIlroy, while he and Morikawa also enjoyed a flawless display in the win over Casey and Hatton.

Chipping in

Despite a record-breaking day personally, former Masters champion Garcia told reporters: "It's great but it's not. We need more wins and unfortunately we are not getting them at the moment. I didn't even know. Steve Sands told me on the 17th hole. I didn't know the record and I didn't care. Obviously Jon and I, we did what we had to and what we could, and unfortunately it just looks like the American guys are just playing a little bit better than us, and it's a shame."

USA captain Steve Stricker said: "This team is deep. They are so good and they have had great couple of years to make this team. Everybody came in ready and prepared. They are hitting it well. They came here all on board a couple weeks ago for the final round and they put the time and effort and energy into it."

On the home-field advantage, Dustin Johnson added: "It definitely helps. It kind of keeps you going. It gets you fired up, especially right at the start. But the fans have been great this week. I felt like they have been really respectful to both sides. But obviously we have got definitely a home-field advantage here."

A little birdie told me...

Garcia was in record-breaking form in his foursomes showdown, becoming the player to win the most matches in Ryder Cup history.

The 41-year-old, who made his competition debut in 1999, claimed his 24th victory earlier in the day, moving clear of Nick Faldo's previous record.

Saturday's foursomes results

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Eur) beat Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger (USA) 3 and 1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) beat Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton (Eur) 2 and 1
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (USA) beat Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger (Eur) 2 up
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (USA) beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick (Eur) 2 and 1

Saturday's four-ball results

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Eur) beat Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth (USA) 2 and 1
Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton (Eur) beat Tony Finau and Harris English (USA) 1 up
Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau (USA) beat Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland (Eur) 3 and 1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) beat Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy (Eur) 4 and 3

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