Europe leads USA 5-3 at end of Day 1 of the 2018 Ryder Cup

Europe came back from a 3-1 deficit after Friday morning’s fourballs to achieve a clean sweep for the first time ever in a Ryder Cup foursomes session and lead 5-3 going into the second day at Le Golf National in Paris.

A fightback, led by Ryder Cup veterans Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, saw Europe sweep a session for the first time since 1989, a rare feat that they have achieved just twice, both times in fourball sessions.

During this morning’s fourballs, the US team won the first three matches as Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau beat Justin Rose and John Rahm 1 Up, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler defeated Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen 4&2, while Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas overcame Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton 1 Up.

The British Open Golf Champion Francesco Molinari and 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood were the only European winners in the morning session as the pair defeated Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods 3&1, avoiding the possibility of a whitewash in the first session as seen at Hazeltine in 2016.

European Team captain Thomas Bjørn made the decision to send out the experienced pair of Rose and Stenson first in the afternoon foursomes, in what would be their seventh match together, against Johnson and Fowler. They won Europe’s second point of the day as they defeated the Americans 3&2.

Moments later, Europe’s third and fourth points of the day were secured with Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and his afternoon partner England’s Ian Poulter defeating Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 4&2, with Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren thrashing Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau 5&4.

Speaking after winning a point with Ian Poulter in the afternoon. Rory McIlroy said:

“You know, we played well together at Medinah. We played well together at Gleneagles. It was nice to get back out there and deliver another point for Europe.”

Sergio Garcia’s victory today means he overtakes Seve Ballesteros as the most successful Spaniard in Ryder Cup history with 23.5 points and joins Colin Montgomerie on 23.5 points – joint third in the European standings, only one behind Langer and two behind Faldo.

Europe’s only morning winners, Molinari and Fleetwood, returned to action for the afternoon session, and defeated Thomas and Spieth 5&4, with Fleetwood becoming the first European Rookie since Garcia in 1999 to win both their games on the first day of a Ryder Cup.

Reflecting on today’s action, Europe’s captain Thomas Bjørn stated:

It was a bit of a roller coaster ride, to be honest. We were obviously disappointed with this morning. I think a couple of guys came in and felt like they couldn’t get out of the matches what they wanted. There was a good feeling about going out and trying to do something this afternoon, pretty much the way before I got on the golf course, to be honest. So it was a great afternoon.”

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