Ryder Cup 2023 LIVE: Relentless Viktor Hovland and rookie Ludvig Aberg go SEVEN up


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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog on day two of the Ryder Cup 2023 at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome as Team Europe lead Team USA 6.5-1.5 ahead of Saturday’s Foursomes.

Scores

  • 2 up Rory McIlroy & Tommy Fleetwood v Justin Thomas & Jordan Spieth
  • 7 up Viktor Hovland & Ludvig Aberg v Scottie Scheffler & Brooks Koepka
  • Shane Lowry & Sepp Straka v Max Homa and Brian Harman 1 up
  • 2 up Jon Rahm & Tyrrell Hatton v Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele

And it’s a win for the US!

Spieth misses a birdie putt, but it is no problem. He picks up for the win with another shot in hand on the Europeans.

They’re back to two down in the opening group.

Oh dear! That’s a poor bunker shot from Fleetwood

Advantage America! Tommy Fleetwood’s in a really nasty bunker here, but chunks his chip shot, not getting enough on the ball with it popping out of the bunker and bouncing into the rough on the hill infront of him.

McIlroy chips on to put the ball at the back of the green.

Spieth and Thomas will have a chance to get one back here with two putts to win it.

7 up for Hovland and Aberg!

Wow they’re not letting up here!

They take a seventh hole against the goliath pairing of Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka.

Scheffler needed to hole out a 40-yard chip over a bunker to halve the scores with Hovland and Aberg about ten yards from the pin.

It’s becoming a one sided affair this match, with the Euorpean duo playing out of thier skin.

Through the front nine, the World No 1 Scheffler and the five-time major winner, Koepka, are +6!

Straka and Lowry concede the eighth

That’s a big coup for Homa and Harman.

Straka can’t find par and Homa is putting for birdie here.

He slides his putt short before picking up having got one back for his team.

Tyrrel makes it two!

What a putt! He hammers in from 15-yards out to win the sixth hole with a birdie!

He and Rahm are Two up against Cantlay and Schauffele!

McIlroy gets another chance for a win; Homa delivers for USA

McIlroy’s just floated a lovely approach to the green, landing his ball very close to the cup – receiving a big roar from the fans around the course.

Thomas can’t tap in to save for par and picks up, with Fleetwood Mac taking another win to go three up on the ninth hole.

Homa meanwhile is battling hard alongside Harman, with the American sending a stunning appraoch shot to the heart of the green on the 8th.

It’s not looking good for Zach Johnson’s side right now.

Justin Rose reflects on his dramatic putt on 18

After Hovland and Rahm both rallied late on to halve their matches with putts on the 18th green, Justin Rose followed suit, halving his match with Robert McIntyre against Max Homa and Wyndham Clark at the death.

He had also found himself in the bunker before hand, and had looked to take a 3-wood out of the sand trap, before decidiing to lay up with a wedge insteead.

And it paid off, with Rose speaking on that climactic finish after the game: ‘That was my moment there on 18, which was for him and for us and the whole team.

I haven’t had many moments in Ryder Cups, I’ve had points, but I haven’t had that many moments in the afternoon in four-balls and had the whole team around. That was immense.’

6 up through 8! Hovland and Aberg are running riot!

Wow this is an absolute demolition! They’re hammering the US Team’s biggest pairing here!

Aberg picks up on the eighth hole to add another hole to their score.

Spieth and Thomas get one back, Lowry can’t put him and Straka ahead

McIlroy and Fleetwood are back to only a two-hole lead, with Spieth and Thomas getting one back!

Meanwhile Lowry can’t tap in a long-range put to put him and Straka ahead.

Here’s Straka’s brilliant approach from earlier…

Five down – What’s up with Scheffler and Koepka!

What’s going on with Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka?

The two are perhaps the best players in the US Team, but they’re being absolutely overrun by Aberg and Hovland who have all the momentum at the moment.

After their brilliant showing against Rahm and Hojgaard yesterday, the Americans would have been buoyed by their match coming into this morning’s session, but they’re struggling to make puts and have been wayard with their approach play so far this morning.

It’s interesting, because the pair have so much experience between them playing at the top level.

Scottie Scheffler is the best player in the world right now sitting top of the Official World Golf Rankings, having also clinched his first major at the 2022 Masters.

Koepka, meanwhile, has five majors to his trophy haul, clinching the PGA Championship earlier this year.

But they’re five down through seven! Can they turn it around?

Lowry and Straka go all-square

Homa misses a par putt on the sixth and Europe pick up, with a two-shot lead after Straka’s excellent approach shot to the pin.

They bring the scores back to level in what’s been an enthralling match so far with the European’s not letting the American’s pull away from them.

An indication of how punishing the rough can be…

Here’s Thomas’ shot out the fough earlier this morning.

He takes a big hack at the ground and to be honest – there’s not a lot more he can do here on this horrible lie!

Sepp Straka is dialled IN!

He’s got around 136-yards to the hole on the third and playing to win a hole back from Homa and Harman, he lofts the ball into the air and lands it just behind the flag stick.

It rolls back a little but its a perfect strike that will give Lowry a chance for an eagle!

Not a great tee shot from Fleetwood

He’s gone wide left but gets lucky. He dodges the stream going down the left side of the fairway with his ball sitting up on a flat piece of ground.

McIlroy will have a decent angle in here too, with the hole curling round to with a dog leg to the right.

Spieth meanwhile goes right with his tee shot!

Spieth misses a close range putt!

Wow the American’s aren’t clicking this morning – Fleetwood and McIlroy have full momentum.

Spieth can win the seventh hole here with a putt from 10 feet out – but he sends it wide – they halve the hole!

Aberg makes it FIVE!

Wow they are steaming away from Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka here!

Aberg taps in for birdie to make it frive through six!

Thomas hits a beauty on seven

Aberg dazzled earlier on the par three fourth nearly scoring an ace! But this time it’s Thomas who’s gone close – landing the ball on the green from 222-yards out, with his shot trickling down towards the hole.

That’s the boost they needed!

Tyrrell Hatton puts his team 1 up

Hatton has two shots to win the second hole and slides a birdie putt to within a couple of feet of the hole!

He misses with the ball coming up short, but the European’s win the hole with Cantlay and Schauffele unable to reply.

Big putt from Homa – but he can’t take advantage!

The third game is still tied after Homa misses out on a ten foot putt for birdie and to take the advantage!

It’s a big missed chance for the US side, who have struggled on the greens today.

They seem to be playing a little slower this morning, with there being plenty of dew on the course at the start of the day.

Equally, Europe have set up the course in their favour, with the greens playing much slower than those we may find stateside.

Here’s the lie Thomas had

Tommy Fleetwood watched on as Spieth and Thomas chatted with the official.

Elsewhere, Lowry and Straka get back to level!

While we were watching Spieth and Thomas – Lowry and Straka have won a hole back against Homa and Harman, bringing their match back to all-square.

Thomas is in some trouble here!

He’s int he thick grass and has a huge hack out of the grass.

He dislodges the ball from the ground, but accidentially kicks the ball after losing his balance – they will need to come back and check this!

Spieth meanwhile gets the ball back in play!

Aberg comes agonisingly close!

He’s got a chance to win another hole and put Europe five up against Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka – but it just doesn’t break enough – they’ll halve the fifth!

Here’s how close he came on the previous hole…

JT and Spieth have a rules official assessing their lie here

We’re on the sixth here and the ball is set in on some thick rough.

Spieth is asking for embedded relief here while it seems someone may have stood on the golf ball and compressed it into the ground.

There’s a second rules official taking a look now.

It gets worse for Scheffler!

He has a chance to halve the hole on the fourth, but he leaves his ball hanging on the edge of the hole!

It’s four up in the second match for Team Europe now!

Aberg goes close!

Aberg and Hovland are on fire here! They’re onto the par 3 fourth hole now and it’s the Swede’s turn to hit off the tee.

He sends the crowd wild, playing a stunning 188-yard wedge shot, dropping the ball right next to the pin!

Scheffler follows suit with an equally impressive tee shot, but its the European’s who are closer to the flag. Hovland has a chance to hole out for a birdie here!

Scheffler and Koepka have had a torrid start this morning – they’re five over through three holes!

Thomas holes out from off the green!

A sensational putt from the two-time PGA Championship winner who holes a 20-yard putt to put the pressure back on McIlroy and Fleetwood.

They win the hole with a birdie – with the Northern Irishman unable to match them.

Hovland and Aberg go 3 up!

After Aberg’s sensational chip onto the green, Hovland makes no mistake tapping the ball in on the third to put the duo three holes up.

It’s a poor start from Koepka and Scheffler, who card another double bogey!

Hatton and Rahm tie the first!

Big fist pump from Tyrrell Hatton as he and Jon Rahm tie the first hole, with the Englishman draining a putt from 10 feet out.

First win for America!

It’s the Open champion who gets the first bit of red on the board!

He holes out for a birdie on the second hold to take a hole lead against Lowry and Straka.

Meanwhile, Aberg’s nearly chipped in on the third!

Breaking: Zach Johnson confirms that a ‘health issue’ has affected ‘a small portion of the US Team’ with some ‘responding well to antibiotics’

US Team captain Zach Johnson has given an update on the ‘health issue’ that has been affecting his players.

Johnson revealed last night during his press conference that the US Team had been affected by a sickness and today gave an update to Sky Sports, saying that ‘it had affected a small portion of his players’ with those affected ‘responding really well to antibiotics’.

Zach Johnson: ‘It’s a small portion of the players. There’s some guys that haven’t been feeling the best. Thankfully weve got a great medical staff. Furthermore they’ve responded really well to the antibiotics it’s just part of it. That’s sport and its not an excuse.

‘As I’ve said in my presser, to Luke and his team. They played awesome. My concern is the response of my guys and it’s been very, very positive. There’s leaders in the team, there’s leaders in the vice-captains. This team’s ready. New opportunity today.’

‘Given certain things, you kind of have to navigate it. It’s not like we have set plans necessarily. We have contingencies based on this that and the other and this is one of them.’

Homa hits the green on 2!

Europe have got off to a fast start – but Homa and Harman look like they’ve come to play!

Homa lands the green on 2, giving his partner a pretty nice par putt in to take an advantage

Hovland makes it 2 up through two!

Aberg puts the duo on the green with an excellent approach, with Hovland knocking in a par putt from close range to give them a two-hole lead against the Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka.

What a start for the Europeans!

Centre of the fairway!

Stunning fade from Rahm! He gets his team underway! He lands his drive inthe middle of the fairway.

Match four in coming!

The final fourseomes match of the morning! We’ve got Jon Rahm & Tyrrell Hatton going head-to-head with Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.

And it’s a good drive from Cantlay – the first American this morning to find the fairway!

McIlroy and Fleetwood are 3 up through three!

An awful start for Spieth and Thomas. They have a lot of work to do to come back from this!

Spieth misses a difficult par putt on the third green to concede the third hole!

Equally, it’s been an epic start for Fleetwood Mac – they’ve been excellent so far this morning.

Harman makes no mistake

The Open Champion holes out a very well-taken par to tie the first hole.

All class from Thomas!

That was a beautiful chip shot form the two-time PGA Championship winner. He finds himself not far out from the green but in a really horrible lie, on a hill with some really thick rough.

He lofts the ball into the air, dropping it on the green, before watching it trickle towards the hole, missing only by a couple of feet.

McIlroy has a birdie putt to put him and Fleetwood three up – but he can’t make it!

Sensational

Fleetwood’s back again to dazzle with the putter!

American’s struggling in approach

Harman does well to get his ball out of the thick stuff on the first, but his shot comes up short of the green.

Scheffler, on hole 2, is also having some difficulties finding the dance floor. His ball comes in too hot and skirts off the back of the green towards the spectators behind the rope.

Spieth goes wayward

Spieth is about 190-yards out from the green hitting over a ravine, but can’t find the green.

His approach hooks left and careers into a group of spectators on the left of the green, before rolling off down a slope.

Fleetwood, meanwhile, lands his shot on the green from 180 yards.

Straka goes straight down the middle!

The third group has just teed off! Max Homa will hit first for the US Team.

But he too goes right in pretty much the same spot as Spieth and Scheffler!

Straka steps up to address his ball and sends an absolute beauty right down the middle of the fairway!

Scheffler & Koepka hit a double bogey!

It’s a double on the first for the Americans! That gives Aberg and Hovland the win on the second – with the European pair holding a two shot advantage!

They’ll go one-up after the first with Aberg picking the ball up on the green after the American’s conceded the first.

Tommy Fleetwood – take a bow! Thats 2 up through two holes!

Sensational putting from the Englishman. His putter has been on fire this weekend so far.

He holes a huge 30 foot putt on the second hole to double Europe’s lead!

What a partnership this is and a great start for Luke Donald’s side!

Birdie chance for Spieth on hole 2

It’s a great putt and it comes close! He’s weighted the ball very well – but can’t quite get the line right, with the ball drifting off right.

In the second group, Aberg’s excellent chip on gives him and Hovland a two-putt chance to tap in, with Scheffler putting for bogey.

Europe pays tribute to a Ryder Cup legend

A huge tifo of Seve Ballesteros has been unveiled in the grand stands on the first tee.

The Spaniard played in 37 matches, winning an astounding 22.5 points for his side.

During his career he also won two Green Jackets and three Open Championships, while helping the European team to five wins as a player and as a captain in 1997.

First hole goes to Europe!

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood take the first point of the day!

Jordan Spieth can’t get his par putt in the hole, giving Europe a two shot advantage.

McIlroy can’t quite nail the birdie, but the American’s will concede the first, with Fleetwood able to tap in for par.

Hovland nails the fairway!

Some drive from Hovland! He’s still bounding from yesterday’s superb performance and has sent his drive absolutely miles down the middle of the fairway!

Scheffler tees off for the US and follows Jordan Spieth, sending his ball wide right into the rough.

Thomas puts his ball within ten feet

A good wedge on from Thomas there. America are on the green in three though so will need to tap this in to for par.

Back to the first now and our second grouping of Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg are on the first tee.

Aberg, 23, earned his PGA Tour card earlier this year after finishing top of his class at the PGA Tour University. And it’s been a whirlwind season so far for the Ryder Cup rookie – clinching his first DP World Tour title at the Omega European Masters earlier this season. He made his debut on the PGA Tour at the RBC Canadian Open, sensationally finishing -7 at T25 – not a bad start for your first tour event.

Speaking on his equally impressive start at the Ryder Cup on Friday, he said: ‘I was very nervous this morning, but it was really cool. I had Viktor alongside me, kind of a comfort speaking the same language and having fun together. Felt like we handled that very well and hit some nice shots, too, to get the point to Europe.’

Spieth lays up, Fleetwood hits the green

Spieth opts to play the safe route from a tricky lie on the right side of the fairway.

He sends his shot up the fairway and gives Thomas a good shot in.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood has a slightly better lie from the left rough. It’s worth noting that Fleetwood is ranked first on the PGA Tour for going for the green birdie or better as well as coming in fifth for scrambling.

He lofts a lovely wedge into the heart of the green, with the ball catching on the dancefloor before trickling towards the flag.

Were team USA underprepared?

Andrew Coltart yesterday slammed the US Team’s inadequate preparation ahead of the tournament this weekend.

The Sky Sports pundit, who took on Tiger Woods in the singles of the 1999 Ryder Cup, raised questions over the decision by some of the US Team’s players to take five weeks off ahead of the tournament.

‘I have a massive question, and Zach Johnson is going to get hit with this,’ Coltart told Sky Sports.

‘Who on earth in their right mind thinks the best way to prepare for a Ryder Cup is to take five weeks off?

‘Absolutely, categorically, no,’ he said when asked whether Europe’s day one lead could be predicted.

‘We thought, two years ago, that they [USA] were going to be in this for the long haul – 10 years of domination.

‘But their team has been a little bit depleted… and our top players didn’t pitch up at Whistling Straits. Today that’s exactly what they did do.’

Here we go day two is underway!

Thomas pushes his drive right into the rough towards the spectators. Spieth will have a tough shot in from there.

McIlroy goes the other side, missing the fairway in the second cut. It’s not a bad view into the hole from there for Fleetwood, but it’ll be a tough one to dig out.

Here’s how Tommy Fleetwood warmed up for his round on the range…

Thomas and Spieth enter the arena!

Best friends and stalwarts of the US Team – these guys will be a tough match up.

The pair have a combined 16 points at the Ryder Cup. Together they have five majors and 28 PGA Tour career wins.

And it’s Thomas to get us underway!

Here come Fleetwood and McIlroy!

They come out arm in arm to huge applause and chants of ‘Tommy, Tommy Fleetwood!’

They were excellent yesterday, with Fleetwood dazzling with the putter in the morning session, while McIlroy’s wedge play was equally impressive.

‘An unbelievable feat’: Luke Donald

Luke Donald has just stepped out onto the first tee to greet the fans! He’s taken a pretend swing off the tee and boy I’ll bet he’d love to be out there with his sticks.

He’s named some strong pairings today with Fleetwood and McIlroy coming up against Thomas and Spieth in our opening match, and Donald says his main objective this morning is to get off to another solid start.

Donald: ‘Of course we’ll be thinking about that. But tomorrow I’m really focused on going out tomorrow morning and showing another strong session and trying to win that session.

‘That will be our only goal for tomorrow morning, and it will be some wider thoughts, obviously, for Saturday afternoon and the singles, but this is a great start, and we want to build on that lead.’

The Englishman looks pumped out there too! He’s leading the fans in a huge thunder clap, and he has reason to be! Europe were very impressive yesterday and reflecting on Friday, Donald claimed it was ‘an amazing rollercoaster.’

‘Yeah, Ryder Cups are always full of amazing roller coasters and swings throughout the day. Obviously this morning felt a lot more comfortable than this afternoon. We got off to a fast start this morning. We held it; to win 4-0 was very special. But this afternoon the U.S. for a while there were holing putts.

‘They were turning around matches. Again, we got off to a pretty good start, but they fought back. And we knew they would. They are a strong team. There’s a lot of talent on that team. But what we did going down 18 just shows the determination, the grit, the perseverance, kind of the unity of our team.

‘They never gave up, and they kept pushing till the very end. And to hole putts like Viktor did, like Jon did, and of course Rosey, right at the end, that is huge. It really looked like 3-1 at one point for the U.S. 5-3 is really — they are well back in the game. But to win that session, when it looked like 3-1, is an unbelievable feat by my guys.’

Brooks Koepka shoots fire at Jon Rahm

It’s starting to get a little fiery out there! Brooks Koepka took a swipe at Jon Rahm yesterday in his post match press conference.

It came after Scheffler hit a sensational birdie putt on 17 to give them a one-hole lead going into the 18th.

According to Sky Sport’s Rich Beem, Rahm, disappointed with his performance failing to hole out for a birdie to match Scheffler, took his frustrations out on an advertising board surrounding the tee box.

But Koepka hit out at Rahm’s actions claiming Rahm had ‘acted like a child’.

‘So yes, I mean I want to hit a board and pout just like Jon Rahm did but, you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. But we’re adults. We move on.’

T-minus 20 minutes to go!

The first tee is bouncing already!

The stats from day one

  • It is the first time Europe have had a clean sweep in the opening session.
  • It is the first time since 1989 that either side has won a session without trailing in any match.
  • Europe tied the record for haivng the largest lead going into day two – after they secured a five point lead.
  • The first time that Rory McIlroy has won both of his matches on a Friday.
  • The first time USA have not won a match in an entire day.

Sickness in the US camp?

Zach Johnson revealed in a press conference on Friday that the US Team were struggling with a sickness bug within the camp.

Yesterday was a brutal day for the Americans in Rome, suffering a 4-0 whitewash in the opening session, before going on to fail to win a match in the fourballs.

But there may be a reason for their slow start, with Johnson revealing that there may have been an illness in camp yesterday.

‘There’s been some unforeseen things that we’ve had to navigate around, which is really unfortunate, in the sense of health,’ The US Team captain said on Friday.

‘It’s not an excuse, because we have depth, but I’ll just say, I’m grateful we have a team doctor.

He added: ‘We’re just fighting things, I mean, internally. It’s kind of passed around a little bit, caddies, players.

‘It is what it is. But it’s nothing more than that. Guys are fighting and playing regardless. I mean, it’s not anything that’s kind of weighed us down because of the depth we have and because of the many options we think we have.’

Players in the house!

Early start today! Fleetwood Mac are already on the practice green ready to go out here at 6:35am!

Saturday’s foursomes pairings!

Luke Donald has named a pretty much unchanged quad of parings to go out for the fourballs this morning but has tweaked the order slightly.

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood will go out first today after going out last yesterday in the morning session, while Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton will go out last.

In the US Team, Zach Johnson has opted to keep Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in the opening group following on from yesterday’s fourballs. Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka, who looked dominant yesterday in the fourballs go out second again, in a huge pairing. Max Homa and Brian Harman follow and Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay make up the final US Pairing.

6:35am – Rory McIlroy & Tommy Fleetwood v Justin Thomas & Jordan Spieth

6:50am – Viktor Hovland & Ludvig Aberg v Scottie Scheffler & Brooks Koepka

8:05am – Shane Lowry & Sepp Straka v Max Homa and Brian Harman

8:20am – Jon Rahm & Tyrrell Hatton v Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele

Day Two!

Good morning and welcome to our coverage of day two at the Ryder Cup!

It was Team Europe’s day yesterday, with Luke Donald’s side stopping the Americans from picking up a single point at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club – the first time they’ve failed to win a point during a day at the Ryder Cup in the history of the tournament.

Europe steamed ahead to a 4-0 lead in a superb morning session, before they. would overturn what looked to be a 3-1 swing to the US Team in the afternoon, with all of Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose halving their matches with superb putts on the 18th green in dramatic fashion.

While the US Team fought back in the afternoon, Europe would ultimately take a 6.5-1.5 lead heading into Saturday.

So as we gear up for day two, we’ll be recapping on all the action and fall out from what was a thrilling day in Rome…





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