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  • Tiger Woods struggled, but the rest of the USA team was roaring Friday morning at the Ryder Cup. Here's what happened while you were asleep.
By Daniel Rapaport
September 28, 2018

Not everyone can stay up through the night to watch every minute of the Ryder Cup action. 

That's why we're here. 

Here's a recap of what you missed from the Friday morning fourball session, which saw the U.S. take a commanding 3-1 lead thanks largely to superior play on the closing holes.

Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau def. Justin Rose/Jon Rahm, 1 up

This was the key win for the U.S., as Rose and Rahm led for virtually the entire match before a late flurry from the Americans and late poor play from the Europeans. 

Rose and Rahm won the first hole of the match with a birdie from Rose and held that 1–up advantage until Ryder Cup rookie Tony Finau chipped in for eagle on the driveable par-4 6th. 

That American momentum would prove to be short-lived, as the Europeans won 7 and 8 to seize control of the match. Koepka was struggling mightily at that point, missing both ways off the tee and missing multiple makeable birdie efforts. And just look at this reaction from Justin Rose:

Koepka, the two-time defending U.S. Open champion would get back on track on 10, where he stuck a wedge but was matched by a Rose birdie. Koepka won 13 with a 25-footer for birdie and the U.S. dodged a bullet at the par-5 14th, where Rahm's birdie effort suffered one of the worst horseshoes you'll ever see. 

Finau would get one of the luckiest breaks you'll ever see at 16. His tee shot was woefully short of the par 3 and seemed destined for the water before bouncing off some wood and finishing within five feet of the hole. 

He'd convert that one for birdie to knot things at all square. 

After halving 17, Finau and Koepka both safely found the green on 18 before Rose hit one long of the green into the water from the middle of the fairway. A crushing blow, especially after Rahm had to lay up after missing the fairway. Neither would be able to make par, meaning Koepka's two-putt sealed the win for the Americans. 

Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler def. Rory McIlroy/Thorbjorn Olesen, 4 and 2

The story of this match was McIlroy, who struggled mightily and did not make a birdie the entire match. 

The first seven holes were halved before McIlroy won 8 with a par. That's when the Johnson/Fowler team started picking things up, birdieing five of the next six to take a 3 up lead. 

Johnson would stick one at 16 to seal the deal, giving the U.S. its first point via a 4 and 2 victory. 

A solid-as-can-be performance from the Fowler/Johnson team despite some early putting struggles for Johnson, who is sticking with the cross-handed putting grip he switched to at the Tour Championship. 

Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas def. Tyrrell Hatton/Paul Casey, 1 up

The best played match of the early slate, as the Americans shot a better-ball 63 (nine under) while the Europeans shot 64. 

Spieth got off to an absolutely torrid start, birdieing five of the first seven holes to carry the U.S. to a 3 up lead. That must have felt so good for Spieth, who has struggled with his putting all year and had to answer questions about it all week. 

Spieth/Thomas would carry that 3 up lead into the back nine, but that's when Hatton and Casey found some fire of their own. Particularly Casey. The Euros won 11, 12 and 13 to knot things up. After halving 14, Thomas sank a four-footer foor birdie to give get his team's nose ahead once again with three to play. 

Thomas and Spieth both missed birdie efforts on 17 that would have sealed the match, with Thomas' miss coming from about 10 feet. On 18, Spieth would find the middle of the green in two—no small feet, as it's playing 470 into the wind with water short and right—while Hatton hit a beautiful shot to about 20 feet. Hatton's effort was never close, and Spieth holed a three-footer for the victory.

Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood def Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed, 3 and 1

Molinari and Fleetwood made their intentions known on the very first hole, when Molinari stuck one to inside six feet and holed the putt. But Woods would stick one from 220 yards at the par-3 second hole and then birdied the par-5 third.

Reed, who struggled with his ball striking early, would chip in for birdie on 10 to give the U.S. a 2 up lead. 

But Molinari, as he showed in staring down Tiger to win this year's British Open, is a gamer. He would birdie 11 and 12 to square the match. They halved 13 before Fleetwood missed a golden opportunity, missing a five-footer for birdie that would have won 14. 

He'd make up for it on the very next hole, as the long-haired Brit holed a birdie effort from the fringe after Reed found the water from the middle of the fairway. 

Fleetwood would drop another bomb for birdie on 16, and after Reed missed his birdie effort the U.S. was dormie: 2 down with two to go. 

Both Woods and Reed missed the green while Molinari and Fleetwood found it, and the Euros would score their first point of the Cup. 

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)