Team Europe walked to a 6 1/2 -1 1/2 victory on day one of the 2023 Ryder Cup after a dominant performance in Rome.
Captain Luke Donald’s decision to start fours for the first time since 1993, the last American victory on European soil, paid handsome dividends as his side won an opening session for the first time in the competition’s history and claimed a record five points lead after an incredible opening day.
Cheered on by a partisan crowd, the home team never trailed in all four matches and their opponents won just 10 holes all morning.
World number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns accounted for just one of those as they were defeated 4 and 3 by Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, while Viktor Hovland and rookie Ludvig Aberg defeated Open champion Brian Harman and Max Homa by the same score.
Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka kept the momentum going with a 2&1 win over Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa before Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood completed the rout by inflicting a first foursomes defeat on Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
Team Europe dominated the opening day of the Ryder Cup, finishing with a score of 6 1/2 – 1 1/2
America struggled to contain Team Europe, winning just ten holes on the first day
Tommy Fleetwood teamed up with Rory McIlroy for an opening day foursome victory for Team Europe
McIlroy celebrated a brilliant afternoon of Ryder Cup golf, winning both his fourball rounds
Team USA ultimately picked up their first half point of the day after Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas tied with Hovlund and Hatton.
They added another half to their daily total, with reigning American PGA champion Brooks Koepka teaming with Scottie Scheffler to take on Jon Rahm and Nicolai Hojgaard.
Rahm’s huge putt on the 18th hole leveled the fourball and moved Team Europe to six points, while America finally had their first whole figure on the board.
The late action was a recap of the day’s events for both teams.
Jon Rahm was the hero for Team Europe in the afternoon action as he made an outrageous 20-foot putt on the last leg to claim half a point
Justin Rose sank a beautiful putt to rescue half a point to cap off a dominant opening day
It was a miserable day for Team USA as they failed to win a final match on the opening day
Meanwhile, McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick enjoyed the easiest afternoon win of the bunch as they earned a deserved 5&3 victory over Colin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele.
The European point was Fitzpatrick’s first in three editions of the Ryder Cup.
Team USA duo Max Homa and Wyndham Clark should have secured a first victory and doubled their total score, but a miss putt on the 17th was followed by further nerves on the final hole.
Justin Rose held his nerve where Team USA couldn’t and sank a beautiful putt to salvage half a point and cap a sensationally dominant day for Europe.