An excellent final round of 67 saw Jon Rahm seal the third DP World Tour Championship of his career on Sunday.

The Spaniard finished on 20 under par, winning by two shots ahead of Tyrell Hatton and Alex Noren in Dubai and four ahead of Rory McIlroy, who had something to celebrate of his own with his fourth-place finish.

As a result, McIlroy ends the year as DP World Tour number one for a fourth time, winning the Harry Vardon Trophy.

Rahm looked to be in the mood to secure victory after recording birdies on each of the first three holes, only to bogey the fourth, leaving Noren breathing down his neck as the Swede also started brightly to go within one of the lead.

Things turned on the seventh hole though as Noren dropped a shot, before Rahm gained one to extend his advantage to three.

Hatton went on to set the clubhouse lead at 18 under, but Rahm did not drop another shot as he tidied up his round with further birdies at the 13th and 15th before confirming his win with a simple par on the 18th.

After his victory, Rahm said it was a "very" special one, adding: "Because of coronavirus I never got the chance to defend my 2019 title, even though I decided not to come last year I came in with the mentality [this year] that nobody beat me in the last two years, so they're gonna have to beat me again.

"I like this course and this course likes me, so I hope this is the third of many more."

McIlroy was equally pleased with his own award, with the world number one becoming just the second player in history to win the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and the DP World Tour order of merit in the same season.

After his final round of 68, McIlroy said: "It means a lot, it's been seven years since I've last done it [finished top of European Tour rankings] and obviously this is my fourth one.

"I was a model of consistency through the year, a lot of top finishes, I think my worst finish was 12th in Abu Dhabi, so just a really consistent season, kept putting in good performances; it would have been nice to get one win in there at the end of the year here but Jon played an incredible tournament and fully deserved it."

Elsewhere, English pair Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick finished joint-fifth on 13 under, while Dane Rasmus Hoejgaard shot 67 to move up to joint-seventh with Pole Adrian Meronk on 11 under.

Defending CJ Cup champion Rory McIlroy started strong to be one shot behind joint leaders Gary Woodland and Trey Mullinax after the opening day at Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina.

The Northern Irishman is tied with six players at five-under after carding opening rounds of 66, including recent Shriners Children's Open winner Tom Kim.

McIlroy pieced together birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes, but his round leveled out, finishing bogey-free.

Woodland was one of the pre-tournament favourites and he impressed early, with three straight birdies to open his round.

The American dropped three bogeys to slow his progress, but sunk a 21-foot birdie putt on the par-four 18th to finish his round with nine birdies and a share of the lead.

Co-leader Mullinax birdied four of his first six holes and six of his first 11, highlighted by a 23-foot birdie putt on the 11th.

Kim, who is only 20-years-old, stormed up the leaderboard late with three birdies in his final six holes, including rolling in a 28-foot birdie on the 16th although he slipped from the lead with a bogey on the 18th.

McIlroy and Kim are joined by Cam Davis, Kurt Kitayama, Aaron Wise and Wyndham Clark in carding opening day rounds of five-under-par.

Norwegian Viktor Hovland and American Tyrrell Hatton headline the following six-member group at four-under.

Two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is back at three-under, while former world number one pair Jon Rahm and Jason Day are at two-under. Scottie Scheffler finished with an even round.

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth had a poor round that included a double bogey on the sixth and four bogeys to be four-over-par.

20-year-old Kim Joo-hyung became the second-youngest player since 1932 to win a PGA Tour event – trailing only Jordan Spieth – as he produced a final-round 61 to run away with a five-stroke buffer and claim the Wyndham Championship at 20 under.

In doing so, he became the event's youngest ever winner, and after entering the last tournament of the season ranked in the 400s in the FedEx Cup standings, he booked his place in the playoffs later this month.

His final round included an incredible front-nine score of 27, with six birdies and an eagle, and making his win even more remarkable is the fact that he started his week with a quadruple bogey from his opening hole on Thursday.

Speaking to CBS after stepping off the final green, Kim said his ability to keep a sense of humour about his rough start was the key to bouncing back.

"I stayed very patient this week," he said. "I felt like after that quad, once I started to laugh it off I could feel like I was in a much better mental state. 

"Instead of being angry and depressed I just stayed in the moment – I can't believe I won with a quadruple bogey on the first hole – hopefully that doesn't happen again.

"It's definitely a week I will remember forever."

He added: "it was a hard day – I didn't know golf was this stressful before."

Finishing in a tie for second was Kim's South Korean compatriot Im Sung-jae and American John Huh at 15 under, with Ben Griffin alone in fourth at 14 under.

American trio Max McGreevy, Russell Henley and Taylor Moore tied for fifth at 13 under, and there was another two-stroke gap to the group rounding out the top-10 at 11 under consisting of England's Tyrrell Hatton, Australia's Cameron Percy, India's Anirban Lahiri, and Americans Brandon Wu and Chesson Hadley.

Germany's Stephan Jaeger posted Sunday's second-best round with a 62 to finish tied for 13th at 10 under, and Canada's Corey Conners produced a pair of 66s on the weekend to sit on the fringe of the top-20 after scraping through right on the cut-line, tied with Will Zalatoris at nine under.

A poor second round from John Huh opened the door at the Wyndham Championship, with Brandon Wu, Kim Joo-hyung and Ryan Moore capitalising to claim a share of the lead at nine under heading into the weekend.

Huh was two strokes clear after his opening round nine-under 61, but he was 10 shots worse on his second trip around Sedgefield Country Club, shooting a one-over 71 to sit one off the lead.

Of the three leaders, Kim had the best round with his 64, posting seven birdies and one bogey, with Moore shooting a 66, and Wu getting around in 67. All three posted top-five putting days according to Data Golf's strokes gained stats, with Kim leading the field (4.61 strokes gained), Moore third (3.31) and Wu fifth (3.06).

One stroke off the lead along with Huh is American Russell Henley and South Korea's Im Sung-jae, with India's Anirban Lahiri part of the next group at seven under.

Japan's Satoshi Kodaira and Australia's Brett Drewitt are in the group tied for 10th at six under, England's Tyrrell Hatton is at five under, and Sweden's Henrik Norlander rode the second-best putting performance of the day to reach the weekend at four under.

Will Zalatoris responded to a poor opening round with a 66 to sneak one stroke inside the cut-line, Adam Scott and Michael Gligic are right on the cut-line at two under, and pre-tournament favourites Shane Lowry and Corey Conners missed out by one stroke.

 

John Huh leads by two strokes after the first round of the Wyndham Championship, shooting a career-low nine-under 61 in his first trip around Sedgefield Country Club on Thursday.

With seven birdies, one eagle and no bogeys in his round, Huh had his game working from all areas. According to Data Golf's strokes gained stats, the American was the second-best in the tee-to-green category (5.29 strokes gained), third in approach shots (3.25) and sixth in putting (3.21).

Speaking to the media after his round, Huh said he did not feel like he was playing his best, but he is glad to be in such a strong position after entering the week on the fringe of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

"It’s kind of strange," he said, "because I wasn’t really feeling great with my game and I shoot my career low – it’s kind of weird. 

"Sort of mixed feelings, but I’ll take this any day. I was able to take advantage of a good break and good shots, that’s all I can say."

Rory McIlroy predicted he would enjoy the weekend at the Dubai Desert Classic after a 66 on day two moved him firmly into contention.

The former world number one vaulted up the leaderboard into a share of fifth place, following up a steady 71 with a bogey-free round containing four birdies and an eagle.

A two-time winner of this tournament, having been champion as a 19-year-old in 2009 and again in 2015, McIlroy has happy memories and there could be more cause to celebrate come Sunday.

He moved to seven under par through 36 holes, putting him just four shots behind the leader, Justin Harding of South Africa, who added a 68 to his opening 65.

England's Tyrrell Hatton sits second on nine under after matching McIlroy's score. Nobody beat 66 in the second round, with Germany's Nicolai von Dellingshausen also making the same score, in his case atoning for an opening 77 to reach a share of 38th place.

South African Erik van Rooyen and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti share second on eight under par, with McIlroy one shot back in a group that also includes England's Richard Bland, Norway's Viktor Hovland, Adrian Meronk of Poland, and the first-round leader Joachim B Hansen, who had four bogeys and four birdies in a level-par 72. Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey were all on six under.

McIlroy chipped in for eagle at 13, while leader Harding, who began on the back nine, holed from 183 yards at the par-four sixth.

There was satisfaction but also frustration for McIlroy after his round, as he said: "It could have been way lower. I certainly hit the ball good enough for it to be a few shots lower. I hit the ball as good as I've done in a long time, and it could have been a few better, but 66 is a good score and sets me up for a nice weekend."

McIlroy said he had been making technical alterations to his swing on the range, and added: "I thought I hit my irons a lot better today and was in control of the driver a bit better too."

To his frustration, McIlroy has not won a major since reaching four big ones in 2014, but he had two victories on the PGA Tour last year and was firmly in the hunt for the DP World Tour Championship in November until a closing 74 scuppered his chances.

The Northern Irishman tied for 12th last week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, enjoying a strong weekend after only just making the cut. This time he is in a better position from which to strike, and he likes his game at the moment.

"I think with how I ended last year, I certainly found something. I got a little bit of momentum, I won on the PGA Tour and had a really good chance to win here in Dubai at the end of last season," McIlroy said speaking to the DP World Tour website.

"But it feels good. There are so many ebbs and flows in this game and the career's so long that it's hard to compare one season to the next, and how you're feeling and how you're hitting it. But looking back on my last 12 or 14 years, the body of work is there.

"I've played well when I haven't felt so good and I've played poorly when I've felt really good. So it's just a matter of keep showing up each and every day and try your best and try to put the lowest score possible on the scorecard and move on."

Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa faced an overnight wait to learn whether they had made the cut at the windswept Abu Dhabi Championship, as Scott Jamieson clung to first place.

McIlroy made a vital birdie at the par-five 18th to improve his score to three over, having dropped four shots over the previous five holes.

His opening 72 had been way off the pace, and a 75 in the gusting wind could be considered a better result, nudging the four-time major winner up 15 places to a share of 60th position at Yas Links.

Reigning Open champion Morikawa added a 74 to his opening 73 to sit alongside McIlroy, both men hoping there was no surge coming from those left with holes still to play in the second round.

Play was suspended amid fading light on Friday, after the high winds made scoring treacherously difficult.

Jamieson had opened with a 63 on Thursday, but he had two bogeys and a double in his second round, which he started from the 10th tee. Birdies at 11 and eight kept the 38-year-old Scot just ahead of the field after a 74, with Viktor Hovland, Ian Poulter and James Morrison all one shot back.

Hovland also shot a 74, Poulter impressed with a 72, while Morrison, level par for the day, had four holes of his round to complete as darkness fell.

Former Open champion Shane Lowry was in a group of four on five under, while Denmark's Jeff Winther was the only player to break 70, his round of 69 featuring five birdies and taking him to four under, in a share of ninth.

In the first DP World Tour event of the year, the drastic change in playing conditions provided a stiff test for all, some former Masters winner Danny Willett was among those who struggled.

His 80, after an opening 72, meant the Yorkshireman could be definitely confirmed as missing the cut on eight over. Only four players scored worse.

The top 65 players and ties are assured of playing the final two rounds, with the second round to resume at 07:30 local time on Saturday (03:30 GMT).

Jamieson, the world number 336, said it "certainly wasn't easy" for the players who had enjoyed conditions suitable for low-scoring on the opening day.

"It's so tricky," he said, quoted on the DP World Tour website. "Obviously hitting shots is tricky with all the gusts, but the hardest thing is putting.

"You get over the ball and you feel like you've got to be so tense to stop everything moving, but that's the worst thing you can do when you're trying to putt.

"I holed a lot of really good putts from inside five feet today which kept my score respectable.

"It's a great test from tee to green, if you want to call it a test, at the mercy of whatever gust you might or might not get."

Scott Jamieson holds a one-shot lead from Viktor Hovland after the first round of the Abu Dhabi Championship. 

Jamieson got the first DP World Tour event of the year under way with a brilliant nine-under 63 at the Yas Links course on Thursday.

The Scot was bogey-free through his opening round, hitting the turn in 32 and making another five birdies on the back nine to set the clubhouse target at the DP World Tour's newest venue.

Jamieson started with a birdie and never looked back, fittingly also finishing his excellent round with another gain.

He said in an interview with the DP World Tour: "Eight weeks off from tournament golf, you're always a little bit on edge at the start of the day, but a birdie at the first settled any edge there was and I was just really solid all day.

"One tee shot wasn't very good, but I kind of got lucky and recovered well."

Hovland signed for an eight-under 64 in the opening Rolex Series event of the season, with a bogey five at the 12th the only blemish on the world number seven's card.

The Norwegian had gone out in 31 and finished with a flourish, making three birdies in his final four holes.

World number two Collin Morikawa, winner of the Race to Dubai last year, has work to do following a one-over 73, with Rory McIlroy also having ground to make up at level par.

Thomas Pieters is two shots adrift of Jamieson in third place, while Ian Poulter, Tyrrell Hatton and James Morrison are among a group of five players on six under.

Takumi Kanaya and Victor Perez also started with six-under rounds of 66.

Bryson DeChambeau carded an eight-under-par 64 to take the lead after the second round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

World number seven DeChambeau started Friday's session down in 11th but climbed to the top of the standings on 11 under for the tournament with an impressive round.

The 2020 US Open winner double-bogeyed on the par-four 16th after pulling his drive into a bush, but that was the only blemish as he made 10 birdies.

DeChambeau, whose only title this calendar year came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, is one stroke clear of fellow Americans Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka.

Morikawa will overtake Jon Rahm as the world's number one should he win the tournament, and he would have had a share of the lead if not for a bogey on the 18th.

"When I put myself in the fairway, I was converting, I was making the birdies when I needed to," said Morikawa.

“I still felt like the driver's a little off, but, you know, get my timing a little bit better tomorrow and the next day and we'll be just fine."

Finau began the back nine with a bogey but recovered well with four birdies on the following eight holes to remain in strong contention for the title with two rounds to go.

Rory McIlroy, who held a share of the first-round lead with Daniel Berger and Abraham Ancer, shot a one under-par 71 on Friday to slip four off the pace.

Berger is fifth after a round of 69, while Ancer's 73 – which included five bogeys – saw him drop outside the top 10.

Meanwhile, Sam Burns impressed with seven birdies for a second-round 65 that was bettered only by DeChambeau as he climbed into a tie for sixth alongside Tyrrell Hatton.

Danny Willett gave himself a golden opportunity to celebrate his birthday by winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after taking three-shot lead on Saturday.

The 2016 Masters champion could toast turning 34 on Sunday by claiming his first title since his BMW PGA Championship triumph in September 2019.

Willett's impressive six-under bogey-free third round of 66 on the Old Course at St. Andrew's moved him to 14 under, three shots clear of Tyrrell Hatton, Richard Bland, Shane Lowry and John Murphy.

Englishman Willett overcame difficult weather conditions to move into a strong position.

"Early on, with a decent bit of wind, downwind, you always feel like you should take so many chances," said Willett.

"You need to drive it close, and as soon as you get on the 12th tee, you know you've got pretty tough conditions coming straight into the wind on the last six holes. I really had a go on the last six and gained a lot of shots coming in doing that.

"It's nice that the fans are back this week, the format is back, we missed it last year. I think it's great to have everyone here. We're getting cheered on, so it's great to be back on British soil. Another 18 holes to go, and we'll see how we do."

Three bogeys in a row on the back nine for Hatton after a promising start of four birdies from his opening five holes saw the 29-year-old drop into joint-second at 11 under as he signed for a one-under 72.

"Got off to a very nice start, and then just hit a couple of loose shots, just lost all momentum, to be honest," Hatton said. "I think from the eighth hole, just never really got anything going our way.

"I think there were only a couple of times where I had a realistic birdie chance, and I hit a good putt, and it bobbled off line or whatever."

Bland carded a sublime eight-under 64, while Irish duo Lowry and Murphy are firmly in the mix after going round in 67.

Tyrrell Hatton emerged from day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as the outright leader, but there are still multiple contenders to claim glory this weekend.

Englishman Hatton ended day one in a four-way tie for the lead, but even though he could not repeat his stunning first-round score of 64, settling for a two-under round 70 on Friday was still enough to claim the advantage.

World number 19 Hatton is 10 under for the tournament, one shot clear of compatriot Daniel Gavins after playing the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Li Haotong, one of Hatton's co-leaders overnight, and Danny Willett are tied for third on eight under at the European Tour event, with Tommy Fleetwood and Denmark's Jeff Winther one shot further back at seven under.

Former Open champion Shane Lowry produced the best round of the day, with his eventful 67 featuring an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys. He is sitting at six under, four off the lead.

However, the two other overnight leaders, Nicolas Colsaerts and Adri Arnaus, struggled to remain in contention, in contrast to Hatton and Li.

Colsaerts is now five shots off the lead, while Arnaus trails by six after a miserable 76 which featured five bogeys and a double bogey.

Hatton, part of the European team that suffered a record-breaking 19-9 defeat by USA on American soil in the Ryder Cup last week, is looking to triumph in the tournament for a third time.

He previously lifted the title in 2016 and 2017.

Tyrrell Hatton produced a magnificent back nine to sit in a share of the lead following the opening day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Hatton is looking to triumph in the tournament for a third time, having lifted the title in 2016 and 2017.

The Englishman was part of the European team that suffered a record-breaking 19-9 defeat by USA on American soil in the Ryder Cup last weekend.

However, he quickly overcame that disappointment with a hugely impressive back nine score of 29 at Carnoustie – aided by five birdies and an eagle – to move joint-top of the leaderboard on eight under.

"Obviously, we needed a big back nine and very happy that the putter worked well and hopefully that continues," Hatton said after his score of 64.

"It's always nice to start pretty good around this golf course. You go to the other ones and feel like you've got slightly more of a chance than here, so we'll see what the week brings."

Three-time European Tour winner Nicolas Colsaerts has also started well in his quest for a first triumph in two years.

The Belgian recovered from bogeying the second hole on the Old Course at St Andrews with five birdies and two eagles, also carding 64.

"Once you start to play well at the home of golf, it's a pretty nice feeling when you hit the shots," he said.

"Making two eagles on the two par fives and a birdie on 18, you basically tick every box on the Old Course, which is nice."

Meanwhile, China's Li Haotong and Spaniard Adri Arnaus carded bogey-free opening rounds to join Hatton and Colsaerts on eight under par.

Local favourite Ewen Ferguson is one of three players who are a shot behind the early leaders, along with Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey and Frenchman Romain Langasque.

Defending champion Victor Perez, who triumphed in 2019 before last year's tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, had a steady start, carding an opening 71.

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

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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