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US takes early lead at Ryder Cup

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — The Americans were looking for a fresh start in the Ryder Cup with its youngest team ever, and it worked out even better Friday than they imagined at windswept Whistling Straits.

Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele each won two matches and all six U.S. rookies contributed at least a half-point on a day of chill and warmth, sunshine and rain, and a constant dose of American red scores on the boards.

The Americans won both sessions to build a 6-2 lead, sending Europe and its vast experience to its largest deficit after the opening day.

“I thought 3-1 and 3-1 in the two sessions, that’s a great start,” Patrick Cantlay after his solid Ryder Cup debut. “Hopefully, we can keep the pedal down and keep doing more of the same.”

The first point of the 43rd Ryder Cup, postponed one year by the pandemic, went to Europe and its new “Spanish Armada” of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia. The final match ended in a halve when Justin Thomas delivered a late eagle putt that allowed him and Cantlay to come all the way back from a 3-down deficit.

A quick start is nothing new for the Americans, who now have gone seven straight Ryder Cups without losing the opening session. This time, they backed it up with a solid finish.

“We can come back from 6-2,” Rory McIlroy said, trying to summon calm and confidence after losing both matches on the first day for the first time.

Both captains stuck to their plans, and it only worked out for one of them.

Even with a 3-1 start in foursomes, Steve Stricker broke up all his American teams and still won the afternoon fourballs session.

Johnson and Schauffele never trailed, while the high-spirited Tony Finau made six birdies as he and Harris English trounced McIlroy and Shane Lowry. McIlroy never reached the 16th hole in either of his losses.

Bryson DeChambeau still hasn’t won a Ryder Cup match, but he delivered quite a show.

He pounded a drive to where no one had dared to go on the par-5 fifth hole. It cleared a massive bunker complex and stopped rolling at 417 yards, setting up a 72-yard flip wedge for an easy eagle.

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