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US push back against European Ryder Cup tide

Max Homa (left) and Brian Harman were the only morning bright spot for the US. (AP pic)

ROME: The US are fighting back against a European Ryder Cup tide as the holders lead in two of four afternoon fourballs matches in Rome.

Zach Johnson’s US were trailing by seven points at the end of a disastrous set of morning foursomes in which they lost three, including a record-breaking hammering at the hands of Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg, as Europe moved 9.5-2.5 ahead.

The Americans are bidding for a first Ryder Cup win on European soils in three decades.

They needed a big afternoon session and with all fourball matches now over the halfway mark they are comfortably ahead in two and right in two other tight contests.

Max Homa and Brian Harman were the only morning bright spot when they put the first full point on the board for the US, seeing off Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka 4 and 2.

And the pair followed up that win by cruising into a three-hole lead through 11 against Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard.

Hovland and Aberg have been unable to recreate the morning magic which led to an all-time biggest Ryder Cup foursomes win against Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka, a barely believable 9 and 7.

The all-Scandinavian pairing appear to have run out of gas and have had the tables turned on them by Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa, down five with five to play having only won two holes.

How the two teams go into the final singles will come down to the final two matches, which are much closer affairs.

Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick lead Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark by a single hole after 10 holes of the last match of the afternoon.

Meanwhile Robert MacIntyre and Justin Rose, one of three European pairings to snatch last-hole halves in yesterday’s fourballs, are tied after the front nine with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.