A first-round Ryder Cup point for the Spanish Armada
AP — SHEBOYGAN, Wis. Sergio Garcia kissed the spectators on the cheek with his lips pursed. Jon Rahm couldn’t hold back his grin the whole time. It was all part of a magical morning for the newest version of the Spanish Armada at the Ryder Cup.
When the putts start going in, it’s so simple to develop good chemistry.
A three-and-one win against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the first Ryder Cup match was all but sealed by Rahm and Garcia’s pair of 99-foot birdie putts on the front nine and a 24-foot birdie putt on the 15th.
Garcia tied Nick Faldo’s record of 23 Ryder Cup victories with his victory in the foursomes.
In the end, Rahm remarked, “all I had to do was make a couple of putts and not get in his way.”
Capt. Padraig Harrington succeeded if his goal was to invoke memories of the late Seve Ballesteros, Europe’s most inspirational Spaniard, in an early message. However, if the energy created by Rahm and Garcia was meant to reverberate throughout the European team’s course, it was a failure. Europe’s lone point came from the Spaniards in the morning fourball rounds at Whistling Straits’ cool, quiet environment.
“This is only the beginning.” The future still holds many opportunities, “Garcia said.
In their match, a lot of positive things happened.
In addition to Ballesteros, Manuel Pinero, Jose Maria Olazabal, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, these two Spaniards constituted a version of the Spanish Armada in the 1980s. This was their first Ryder Cup partnership.
In his second Ryder Cup, Rahm took his No. 1 global ranking into the tournament, while Garcia is making his tenth appearance at the event he loves most.
After Garcia’s approach shot from the native area to the front of the par-4 fourth green was dug out, the magic began. The 58-footer was read by Rahm over the hill and through the ditch. A birdie putt by Rahm gave the Europeans their first lead of the round.
In order to go three ahead, Rahm hit back-to-back birdie putts — one from 12 feet and the other from 15 feet — on the seventh and eighth holes, respectively. Six birdies on the front nine were shared by the four major champions. Over the course of the match, Spieth and Thomas had four bogey-free holes.
“If we had to bet on anything, we’d bet on us,” said Spieth, who was partnered with Thomas at the Ryder Cup and went 0-3 overall. When it came to putts, they made around 150 feet in distance, but we caught a lot of lips. “We just got buzzed by a sawmill.”
Garcia’s huge putt on the 15th green gave the Spaniards a three-hole advantage with three holes to play, ending any uncertainty in this match. He congratulated everyone by blowing them a kiss.
Garcia said, “It’s always wonderful.” In the face of a formidable American pair, “we went out there and did what we had to do.”
Those two remained at loggerheads.
It took Spieth a while to get his bearings on the big downhill slope on the par-3 17th after Thomas’ tee-ball sailed over a mound and into the natural area next to Lake Michigan.
He stumbled into Lake Michigan after losing his footing during the follow-through.
Although it seemed like the ball had landed on the green, the Americans had not yet begun their approach. As a result, Thomas missed the short putt from 9 feet out, and the teams exchanged handshakes.
“We just got a very difficult break there,” Spieth said of the hole-in-one scenario.
What a disaster to be pitted against the newly formed Spanish Armada.
It seemed as though I was… It was a near-perfect round of golf once we got our act together, “Rahim said.
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