Lee Westwood missed a relatively easy three-foot putt on the 18th hole as the late afternoon sun set on Hazeltine on the outskirts of the Twin Cities. The miscue was a costly error that provided the USA’s Ryder Cup team an extra half point while burying the Europeans deeper into their deficit that can only be corrected with a gallant effort when the final round of singles is played on Sunday.
Americans Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reid finished off the last match of the day on 17, giving the USA a 9 1/2-6 1/2 lead going into the final day of matches. The shocking miss culminated a day when the U.S. team won three of the afternoon four ball matches, highlighted by the one half-point lost because of Westwood’s missed putt that cost he and Danny Willett in their match against J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore.
Reed, together with Spieth, and veteran Phil Mickelson, paired with his friend Matt Kuchar, led the American side with consistent putting and clutch play all day Saturday.
Europe has won the last three Ryder Cups, including a 2012 win in Chicago when the U.S. led 10-6 going into the singles play. To make another comeback, Europe will need to win 7 1/2 points from the 12 singles matches on Sunday to retain the cup. From the USA perspective, with the three-point lead from the first two days and four rounds of match play golf, they’ll need to win five of the 12 singles matches.