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Pairings and Predictions: Friday Matches

Ryder Cup
Sep 28, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA; Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar form the anchor team for USA. Photo Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Ryder Cup Pairings and Predictions

After a stunning Friday morning, in which the Americans dominated 4-0, Global Golf Post prognosticators Sean Fairholm and Rob Coleman give their predictions for the afternoon four-ball matches.

Both Sean and Rob predicted the USA would lead after the morning foursome matches. Rob predicted a 3-1 lead, only missing one match, while Sean’s 2.5-1.5 prediction was just a little further off. Here are the Friday afternoon four-ball predictions:


Friday Four-Ball Match #1
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Spieth/Reed (USA) vs. Rose/Stenson (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: In a quick rematch of the morning battle, Stenson and Rose regain their footing and pick up a critical point for a now desperate Europe. A loss here and the mountain to climb may be too high for even a Medinah miracle.

Rob: Here we go again. The pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed can’t win every time they play together, but I do think they will win this rematch. Their sharp approach shots and lights-out putting carried them through the morning and will carry them through once again versus one of Europe’s strongest pairs.

Friday Four-Ball Match #2
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Holmes/Moore (USA) vs. Garcia/Cabrera-Bello (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: The two Spaniards will face a Ryder Cup rookie and a bomber who performed well at Valhalla in 2008. Give the edge to Europe with Cabrera-Bello making the difference.

Rob: J.B. Holmes is a birdie machine. Ryan Moore has been on fire as of late with three top-10s in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Sergio Garcia has won 18 Ryder Cup matches in his lifetime and he won’t go 0-2 on Friday at Hazeltine. Paired with a fellow Spaniard, they have a great chance to win this. I predict a narrow European victory.

Friday Four-Ball Match #3
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Snedeker/Koepka (USA) vs. Kaymer/Willett (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: It’s been a rough stretch for Willett since the Masters and it’s also been a difficult Ryder Cup despite not hitting a shot. The Americans come through on the back of Koepka, a player with almost as much ice in his veins as Henrik Stenson.

Rob: This is a tough one to call. How will Danny Willett handle the Ryder Cup pressure when a boisterous American crowd will let him hear it after his brother’s jabs at “fat, greedy” Americans? The morning saw some ugliness from some U.S. fans, but it might be worse for Willett. Snedeker is the best putter in this four-ball match and Koepka can make birdies. Advantage USA.

Friday Four-Ball Match #4
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
D. Johnson/Kuchar (USA) vs. McIlroy/Pieters (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: I don’t see this American pairing of Johnson and Kuchar losing at any point today or tomorrow. They take down Rory and the rookie to tie the afternoon session and give the U.S. a comfortable 6-2 lead going into Saturday.

Rob: I can’t pick against Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, even though I really like Rory McIlroy’s recent form. The cool-as-cucumber American veterans will win this one.

 Friday Four-Ball Prediction  USA 2, EUROPE 2 USA 3, EUROPE 1

Friday Morning Foursome Predictions

Will the United States get back on the winning track this year? If so, Friday morning foursome matches are a good place to pick up early momentum. Here are the predictions:

Friday Foursome Match #1 (7:35 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Spieth/Reed (USA) vs. Rose/Stenson (EUR) HALVE

The Breakdown

Sean: Spieth-Reed was a sparkplug combination for the U.S. in 2014 at Gleneagles, but they will face a pairing that was even more successful in the last Ryder Cup. The Olympic Champ and Open Champ are a formidable duo and this emotional match should go down to the wire.

Rob: The names on both sides are fearsome, and they should fight it out through a full 18 holes. The edge goes to the Americans, though, if for no other reason than Henrik Stenson has been hobbled lately due to a lingering knee injury.

Friday Foursome Match #2 (7:50 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Mickelson/Fowler (USA) vs. McIlroy/Sullivan (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: Despite Andy Sullivan’s curious play in August, his ability to putt and strong Walker Cup record suggests he will be ready for the big stage. Fowler (0-3-5) has never won a Ryder Cup match and has struggled mightily on the big stage this year, finishing no better than tied for 33rd in a major.

Rob: Rory McIlroy is back on top of his game and picking against any team with him will be difficult, even when he is paired with a rookie like Sullivan. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler hasn’t been on his ‘A’ game as of late.

Friday Foursome Match #3 (8:05 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Walker/Z. Johnson (USA) vs. Garcia/Kaymer (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: Two pairs of veterans go up against each other in this match where Jimmy Walker will make the difference. The PGA Champion loves team competitions and is an elite ball-striker (15th on the PGA Tour this season) on a course that demands it.

Rob: Jimmy Walker proved himself to be a steady, reliable player at the 2014 Ryder Cup, and he finds his equal in Zach Johnson. Together, they should find what it takes to win.

Friday Foursome Match #4 (8:20 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
D. Johnson/Kuchar (USA) vs. Pieters/Westwood (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: Everyone loves to play with Matt Kuchar, an all-around player who complements anyone’s game, and Dustin Johnson is a powerful partner to have. We’ll see if Pieters can rise up to the occasion, but the U.S. could get up early in this match and start running away.

Rob: No matter who they are up against, I believe the Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar combo is a winning force. DJ is the best player in the world this year, and Kuchar is a great partner who is strong in every facet of the game. Pieters is an impressive Ryder Cup rookie, paired with a wily veteran in Westwood, but even so, this one probably won’t go past the 16th hole.

 Friday Morning Foursome Prediction  USA 2.5, EUROPE 1.5 USA 3, EUROPE 1

 

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