Europe in command in third Ryder Cup session

Rory McIlroy (AP)
Rory McIlroy (AP)

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia laid the foundations for a dominant start by Europe to Saturday's Ryder Cup morning fourballs as the hosts sought to increase their 5-3 overnight advantage against the United States. 

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McIlroy, who struggled mightily in Friday's fourballs, looked far more like the four-time major champion as he reeled off four birdies on the front nine alongside Garcia to take a 4-up lead over Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau. 

Englishman Paul Casey was equally impressive, if not more so, in the second fourballs, racking up five birdies on the opening six holes as he and Tyrrell Hatton charged 2-up ahead of Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. 

Tommy Fleetwood, the first European rookie to win two points on the first day of a Ryder Cup since Garcia in 1999, reprised his successful partnership with British Open champion Francesco Molinari. 

The pair were all square through 10 with Tiger Woods and a misfiring Patrick Reed at the turn, the latter finding the water as well as the gallery on a nightmare front nine for the reigning Masters champion. 

The Europeans pulled two clear but Woods clawed a hole back at the 7th, pumping his fist in animated fashion, before levelling the contest with another birdie just after the turn. 

Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm were all square with Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas through nine. 

Rahm plonked his ball into the water on the first two holes, but Poulter led the fightback with a birdie on seven to put Europe 1-up in the anchor match only for Spieth to answer back on the eighth. 

The US have not rallied to win from a first-day deficit since 1999, when they trailed 6-2 at the 'Battle of Brookline' in Massachusetts.

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