Spain’s Armada pushes its way to Europe’s only Ryder Cup victory | national news

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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) – Sergio Garcia gave the crowd a kiss. Jon Rahm couldn’t help but smile. It was all part of a morning full of magic and slaps on the back for the latest iteration of the Spanish Armada’s Ryder Cup.

Oh, how easy it is to find a great chemistry when all those putts go on.

Rahm birdie putts 99 feet on the first nine on Friday, and Garcia hit a 24-foot birdie on No.15 to end their 3-1 win over Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the opener. of the Ryder Cup.

The quartet victory marked Garcia’s 23rd win of his rich Ryder Cup career, tying Nick Faldo for the record.

“All I had to do was hopefully make a few putts and not get in his way,” said Rahm.

If Captain Padraig Harrington’s mission was to send an early message by touching the memories of Europe’s most inspiring Spaniard, the late Seve Ballesteros, then he has hit the mark.

But if the electricity generated by Rahm and Garcia were to resonate throughout the course for the Europeans, well, it didn’t work. It turned out that the Spaniards won the only European victory all day. Rahm teamed up with Tyrell Hatton in the afternoon to save a four-ball tie as Europe closed Day 1 with a 6-2 deficit.

“A lot of good things can still happen,” Garcia said.

A lot of good things happened in their game.

This was the first Ryder Cup twinning between these two Spaniards, putting them in the same company as Ballesteros, Manuel Pinero, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who all formed versions of the Spanish Armada dating back years. 80.

Garcia is making his 10th appearance at the event he loves most, and Rahm brought his world number 1 to his second Ryder Cup.

The magic began shortly after Garcia dug his native zone approach shot to the front of the par-4 fourth green. Rahm read a 58 feet over a hill and through a ditch. It went for a birdie, Rahm pumped his fist and the Europeans had their first lead of the day.

Rahm made back-to-back birdie putts – 12 feet on No.7 and 15 feet on No.8 – to increase the lead to 3 points. The four players, all major championship winners, combined for six birdies out of the top nine. Spieth and Thomas had four birdies on the 17 holes.

“If we could bet anything on who’s going to make more putts, we’d bet ourselves,” said Spieth, who fell to 3-2 for life when paired with Thomas in the Ryder Cup. “But we caught a lot of lips and they putt about 150 feet. We just grabbed a circular saw.

If there was any doubt in this game, it ended on the 15th green when Garcia slammed his long-distance putt to give the Spaniards a three-hole lead with three to go. He celebrated by blowing a kiss to the crowd.

“It’s always amazing,” Garcia said. “We went over there and did what we had to do against a very tough American couple.”

This couple continued to fight.

After Thomas’ tee shot on the 17th par-3 took off from a mound and slipped under the green in the native area facing Lake Michigan, Spieth found his footing on a huge downward slope and blew up a corner of the sky. He lost his balance in the follow-up and practically ran into Lake Michigan before regaining his footing.

The ball fell on the green, but the Americans were still out. Thomas couldn’t convert the 6-foot putt, and moments later the teams shook hands.

“It was a situation where the first to win (the hole) and we just got a really tough break there,” Spieth said.

Worst of all breaks – coming face to face with the new Spanish Armada, which was pretty much the only thing Europe had going for it on an otherwise bleak day.

“I felt like… once we got on our way, we golfed almost flawlessly,” said Rahm.

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