GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy (AP) — Max Homa had already taken his hat off and was walking toward playing partner Brian Harman for a celebratory hug before his chip for eagle rolled in on the reachable par-4 16th.
Nearly 28 hours into the Ryder Cup, the two rookies clinched the Americans’ first full point by beating Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka 4 and 2 in morning foursomes Saturday at Marco Simone.
“We needed something to go our way,” Homa said. “Somebody had to start a spark, so I’m just glad it was us.”
“We obviously are in a big hole but we have the right guys to dig ourselves out of it,” Homa said.
Homa and Harman did a bit more digging in afternoon fourballs, beating Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard 2 and 1. Homa accounted for four of the five holes that the Americans won in their second match of the day.
Still, Europe led 10 ½ to 5 ½.
“I’ve just been really enjoying my time with my teammates. It’s been a blast,” Homa said. “Win or lose, I think you do need to soak in how fun this week is. It’s obviously a lot more fun when you’re not getting beaten.
“As Brian taught me this morning, we are just going to focus on left foot, right foot. We might be a bit behind, but we can take that ‘one shot at a time cliché.’”
Homa went 4-0 in his first team experience at the Presidents Cup last year and also earned a half point with Wyndham Clark in afternoon fourballs on Friday against Robert MacIntyre and Justin Rose. But that felt like a loss after Homa missed a putt on 18 to win it — leaving him bent over in agony — and then Rose holed his putt to halve the match.
In Sunday’s singles, Homa will become the only American to play in all five sessions at this edition.
Homa and Harman never trailed against Lowry and Straka — also a first for the Americans at this Ryder Cup.
Harman, this year’s British Open champion, made a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-4 10th to put the Americans ahead and then Homa hit a beautiful draw with a long iron on the par-5 12th that was inches from going in — setting off chants of “USA, USA, USA” that have been rare over the opening two days.
“It was good to come out and at least put red up on the board,” Harman said.
There was also a bit of fire from Homa, who yelled at the crowd at one point.
“It’s just headless, but we get yelled at a lot. They are actually fairly friendly over here, but they are making fun of us all day,” Homa said. “On 15, a guy — after I fatted my first chip — a guy just gave it to me for the 10 minutes I stood there, so I turned back around and said something back to him.
“It’s just having fun. It’s enjoyable. J.T. (Justin Thomas) told me at the Presidents Cup about how it’s so fun being at these events because you can act like an idiot if you want to, and I acted like an idiot the few times I was lucky enough to have my ball go in the hole. Just comes out of you sometimes.”
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