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Saturday March 28th, 2020 5:11AM

The Latest: Fourballs in the balance at Ryder Cup

By The Associated Press
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SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — The Latest on the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

The fourballs are headed to the back nine at the Ryder Cup, and all the matches are in the balance.

In a 40-minute swing at Le Golf National, the United States went from being down in three matches to being up in three.

Justin Rose provided one of the highlights of the morning when he chipped in from 15 yards from the rough at No. 12. He celebrated with a double fist-pump . Rose and Jon Rahm were 1-up for Europe against Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau through 13 holes.

Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler were turning their match around against Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen, winning three of four holes to go from 1-down to 2-up through 12 holes.

___

10:55 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm are firing up their teams at the Ryder Cup.

Spieth has birdied five of the first seven holes, basically turning partner Justin Thomas into a bystander and giving the Americans a 3-up lead in their fourballs match against Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.

After Spieth knocked in a birdie from the fringe at No. 7, Thomas retrieved the ball from the cup and flipped it to his partner.

In the opening match, Rahm is paired with Justin Rose and playing like a veteran in his Ryder Cup debut. The 23-year-old Spaniard made a 12-footer for birdie at No. 8, pumping his fist and drawing some of the biggest cheers of the morning at Le Golf National.

Rahm and Rose are 2-up at the halfway point against Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka.

Finau got off to a shaky start in his first Ryder Cup, nearly knocking his opening shot into the water and driving out of bounds at No. 7. Koepka appeared shaken after hitting a fan with a drive at the seventh.

The other two matches are all-square.

___

9:30 a.m.

Tiger Woods is on the course at the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2012.

Coming off his first victory in more than five years in the Tour Championship, Woods received a warm round of applause from the pro-European crowd when introduced at the first tee with teammate Patrick Reed. They are facing Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood in the anchor match of Friday morning fourballs.

After Woods settled for par at the first hole, Molinari put the Europeans ahead with a birdie.

Woods answered at the par-3 second, evening the match with a tee shot to about 6 feet and a conceded birdie.

The Ryder Cup is one of the few mediocre marks on Woods' career. He has a 13-17-3 record while playing on just one winning team in seven appearances.

___

8:40 a.m.

Ryder Cup rookie Tony Finau got the honor of hitting the first shot at Le Golf National.

He was a little too pumped up.

Teeing off with a 3-iron, Finau drove his ball to the edge of the water at No. 1, leading to a bogey. The 29-year-old American turned to his playing partner, Brooks Koepka, with a look of disbelief.

"Wow," Finau mouthed.

Justin Rose gave Europe a quick lead with a brilliant approach that stopped about 3 feet from the cup, resulting in a birdie putt that was little more than a tap-in.

Rose is playing with Jon Rahm in the first fourballs match of the day.

Rahm and Koepka settled for par.

___

7:25 a.m.

Thousands of fans are filling up the massive grandstand behind the first tee at the Ryder Cup in the dark, anticipating the start of matches between two of the strongest teams ever assembled for the matches.

The stadium-like grandstand at Le Golf National holds nearly 7,000 people, and thousands more are taking up space down the fairway as Europe sets out to defend its turf. The Americans are coming off a Ryder Cup victory two years ago in Minnesota. They have not won in Europe since 1993.

U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka will partner with Tony Finau in the opening fourballs match against Justin Rose and Jon Rahm. Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed are in the anchor match.

___

For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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