Patrick Cantlay helps keep Team USA's slim Ryder Cup hopes alive

Europe take five-point lead into Sunday's singles

Patrick Cantlay of Team USA celebrates his putt on the 18th during the fourballs on day two of the Ryder Cup at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome. PA
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Team USA staged a fightback to keep their Ryder Cup hopes alive with a dramatic and tension-packed late win in Saturday's final fourballs match which cut their opponents' lead to five points.

Trailing by one hole with two to play against Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark won at 17 and 18 to claim the Americans' third point of the second session, 1-up.

Team Europe have another home Ryder Cup victory within their grasp but the Americans showed they are not going to give up without a fight.

Cantlay ended a controversial personal day by birdying the last three holes, winning the last two, to snatch victory.

However, after another scorching Rome day, Europe still lead 10-½-5-½ and need four points from Sunday's 12 singles matches to regain the trophy and continue their incredible 30-year unbeaten home run in the biennial competition.

"If there's any tournament in the world that's about momentum, it's this one,” US captain Zach Johnson said.

Momentum still has a monster mountain to climb at Marco Simone.

Europe still have a five point lead and no team has ever rallied from more than a four-point deficit going into the singles on Sunday.

“We're in a great spot,” European captain Luke Donald said. “There's always momentum shifts. Patrick Cantlay birdied the last three. It's not like we gave it to him.”

But it got testy at the end. Cantlay was the prime target for many of European fans who waved their caps at him because he is the only American without one. And perhaps it was in response to a report that he refused to wear the cap out of protest because he wants to be paid. The report also claimed Cantlay had fractured the team room.

Cantlay said he didn't wear one because it wasn't the right fit — just like at Whistling Straits, when he also went without a cap.

As for team unity? The Americans gathered around the 18th green, and when that 45-foot putt dropped and Cantlay slammed his fist, his teammates waved their caps at him.

That included Cantlay's caddie, Joe LaCava, who exchanged words with Shane Lowry, presumably because Europe still had two chances to halve the match with birdie putts from McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Cantlay, who later claimed his decision was purely because he could not find a comfortable hat and dismissed talk of a protest, said: “The crowd was on me all day, I just used it as fuel. Hopefully we can build a lot off this small amount of momentum we’ve got going.

"I told Wyndham we’re going to use it all day. I have never had so many standing ovations walking from tee to green. We've seen what they did at Medinah, and we have a steeper hill to climb but we’re going to give it our best shot.”

Updated: September 30, 2023, 10:40 PM