Steve Palmer’s Ryder Cup blog: Day two fourballs tips
Steve Palmer is the Racing Post’s resident golf expert and, with day two of the 2016 Ryder Cup’s fourballs confirmed, he looks at the best value bets from USA v Europe.
So, who does Steve fancy to gain crucial points at Hazeltine in this team golf event? Read on as gives his exclusive day two fourballs tips to Coral…
Ryder Cup latest
The Ryder Cup remains an extremely close match after a keenly contested day-two foursomes session left Europe only one point behind at Hazeltine National, Minnesota. Darren Clarke’s charges are 7-4 for outright success with Coral going into the final fourballs. The United States are 8-13 favourites.
Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters put the first Saturday point on the board for Europe by destroying Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler 4&2, then Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka beat Henrik Stenson and Matt Fitzpatrick 3&2. Justin Rose and Chris Wood made it 2-1 for the session by defeating Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson one up, then Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth halved with Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello in an epic encounter.
Day two fourballs tips
Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson versus Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters
Davis Love has picked an explosive opening fourballs pairing and Johnson will be raring to go after sitting out the morning foursomes. Whether the Yank bombers have enough to defeat an increasingly confident European alliance of McIlroy and Pieters, though, is open to question. These are four of the longest drivers in the world and a thrilling match seems in store. Koepka is the weak link – he shanked an iron in the foursomes and lost his swing on the back-nine – so expect Europe to prevail.
JB Holmes and Ryan Moore versus Danny Willett and Lee Westwood
Both captains have sprung a surprise with these pairings, but the biggest shock is the appearance of Westwood, who was abysmal in the Friday foursomes. It is a massive show of faith from Clarke to give his great pal Westwood another outing before the singles. Willett has been getting stick from the galleries after the pre-tournament comments of his brother and the Europeans go into this contest under immense pressure. An in-form Moore can take advantage and USA should take the point.
Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar versus Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia
Clarke has taken two huge gambles with his final set of pairings – Westwood and Kaymer. The latter has played poorly in both his previous matches and needs to rapidly improve to play his part in this clash. Garcia is straight back out after a tight tussle in the foursomes and Europe look vulnerable. Take Mickelson and Kuchar, a well balanced pairing, to deliver another point for the United States.
Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth versus Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson
Reed and Spieth failed to finish off Garcia and Cabrera-Bello in the foursomes, dominating the early exchanges and going four up through 12 holes before halving the match. They may have a mental hangover from that flop and both men lost their long-game form coming home. Much pre-tournament debate was over whether Stenson’s dodgy knee could last five matches and the Swede is going to have to give it a go. Stenson and Rose crushed Reed and Spieth in the day-one fourballs and can take the point again for Europe.
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