The 2016 Ryder Cup kicked off this morning from Hazeltine Nation Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota at 8:35 in the morning with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed taking on Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose in an alternate shot format. Having lost the last three Ryder Cups–an event played every two years–the Americans were looking to get off to a hot start, and when the morning finished up, they had done just that.
Match 1: Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed vs. Henrik Stenson & Justin Rose
Match 1 in the 2016 Ryder Cup was never really close. Spieth and Reed got up early in the match and stayed comfortably out in front. The Americans hit a lot of greens and had plenty of birdie opportunities to help secure the point for USA with a 3 & 2 victory. This is the first time that the USA has won the opening match of the Ryder Cup in 21 years.
Match 2: Phil Mickelson & Rickie Fowler vs. Rory McIlroy & Andy Sullivan
The second match was the closest match of the morning; a proverbial ping-pong match of back and forth and back and forth. McIlroy and Sullivan jumped out to a 2-up lead after six holes. Phil and Rickie won the next three holes taking a 1-up lead and making the turn. The Europeans clawed back winning three of the next five holes, relinquishing their lead on 15, 16, and 17 giving the Americans the 1-up victory.
Match 3: Jimmy Walker & Zach Johnson vs. Sergio Garcia & Martin Kaymer
Walker and Johnson took some time to wake up, eleven holes in fact. The Europeans jumped out to an early 1-up lead with a par on the second hole, the Americans bogeyed. Nine holes of halves, led the Americans to a 1-down defict going into number twelve. They proceeded to win the next five holes, not even needing the 17th or 18th, beating Sergio Garica and Martin Kaymer 4 & 2.
Match 4: Dustin Johnson & Matt Kuchar vs. Lee Westwood & Thomas Pieters
Darren Clarke’s strategy of pairing an experienced Ryder Cup player (Westwood) and rookie (Pieters) did not pay off. Pieters looked rattled by the pro American crowd and Westwood was not as sharp as usual. Johnson and Kuchar stepped on the gas and rode the huge lead to a 5 & 4 victory.
After the morning session: Americans – 4, Europeans – 0
Match 1: Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed vs. Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson
Captin Davis Love III stuck with the duo that got the Americans off to 4-0 start to the 2016 Ryder Cup, hoping for the same type start. Yet, this young tw0-some of Speith and Reed struggled in the afternoon against two of the best ball strikers in the world. Rose and Stenson led 4-up going into 14 and brought the hammer down when Justin Rose birdied the 14th giving the Europeans a 5 & 4 victory, their first win of the day.
Match 2: J.B. Holmes & Ryan Moore vs. Sergio Gracia & Rafa Cabrera-Bello
Ryan Moore was not a part of Davis Love’s morning flights and thus made his Ryder Cup debut in the afternoon pairings, after being the last man added to the U.S.A team. He was squaring off against seasoned Ryder Cup veteran, Sergio Garcia, and did not fare all too well, not winning a single hole through 13 holes and carrying a 4-down deficit into the final stretch. Moore made a clutch putt on 14 to win the first hole for the Americans, bringing them to within 3 with 4 holes to play. Moore made another lengthy birdie on 15 as the Americans continued to claw their way back. Alas, a poorly played par-5 16th cost them the match, giving the victory to Team Europe 3 & 2.
Match 3: Brandt Snedeker & Brooks Koepka vs. Martin Kaymer & Danny Willet
Snedeker and Koepka won 4 of the first 8 holes, yielding one on the ninth to take a 3-up lead into the homeward nine. They won the 10th and 11th, taking a 5-up lead into fourteen, bringing their match dormie–meaning the Europeans had to beat them into the clubhouse. Both teams made par on the 14th giving a 5 & 4 victory to the U.S.A.
Match 4: Dustin Johnson & Matt Kuchar vs. Rory McIlroy & Thomas Pieters
A match of heavyweights concluded day one of the 2016 Ryder Cup with U.S Open Champion Dustin Johnson paired with Matt Kuchar taking on Rory McIlroy and PGA Championship contender Thomas Pieters. The Europeans won 5 of the first 7 holes, with the Americans only winning one, leaving the 4-down making the turn. The Americans won the 11th hole, cutting the lead to 3-down, but a clutch putt from Pieters, with McIlroy in his pocket on the 13th, kept their lead intact. Both Europeans missed par opportunities on 14 and brought the Americans one closer. Rory went flag hunting with his second shot to the par-5 16th and eagled giving the Europeans a 3 & 2 victory.
Coverage continues tomorrow at 9 A.M. EST on NBC.
Day 1 Results: Americans – 5, Europeans – 3