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Ryder Cup: Europe's greatest starts

Friday saw a sensational start to the opening day of the Ryder Cup for Europe, with the hosts winning all four foursomes matches against the United States in Rome.

Looking to win back the Ryder Cup, Luke Donald’s men were dominant with a whitewash in the opening session, putting themselves in the perfect position at the Marco Simone Golf Club.

The Europeans have never before won the opening session 4-0 and will hope that will be the platform they need to go on and seal the 14½ points they need for victory, which they are now 1/4 to achieve.

Stunning Europe in prime position

The home team came out of the blocks fast and the US pairings struggled to stay the pace, with the partisan crowd roaring every European shot.

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton got Europe rolling with a comfortable 4&3 win over world number one Scottie Scheffler and his playing partner Sam Burns.

That was followed up soon after by another blue point, as Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg were 4&3 winners over Max Homa and Open champion Brian Harman.

Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka were the next pair to put a point on the board, with a 3&1 success over Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa.

The final match was the tightest of the four, with Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood eventually coming out on top 2&1 over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

Belfry brought the next best start

Prior to Friday morning’s play, Europe’s most successful first session came back in the 2002 match at the Belfry, when Sam Torrance’s men won the Fourballs 3-1.

Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn paired up to beat Tiger Woods and Paul Azinger, before Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood cruised to a 4&3 success over David Duval and Davis Love III.

The same scoreline saw Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer beat Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk, with the USA’s only point coming courtesy of a 1UP victory for Phil Mickelson and David Toms over Padraig Harrington and Niclas Fasth.

Europe went on to lose the afternoon foursomes, but won the match 15½-12½ to win back the trophy they had lost two years earlier. A similar score this year can be backed at 17/2.

Another memorable opening day for the men in Blue came back in 1987, when Europe won the Ryder Cup on American soil for the first time.

Muirfield Village in Ohio was the venue and after a 2-2 scoreline in the morning Foursomes, Europe completed a clean sweep in the afternoon.

A 4-0 afternoon fourballs included victories for legendary pairs Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal and Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam.

The Europeans, led by captain Tony Jacklin, went on to win the match 15-13 and that was the second of three consecutive European successes.

Brookline lead offers US hope

One word of warning for Europe, though, comes in the shape of the 1999 clash at Brookline, when Europe got off to a flying start.

Mark James’ side won the morning foursomes 2 ½-1½, before going on to win the fourballs 3 ½ - ½ in the afternoon.

A 6-2 advantage gave Europe a commanding lead and the visitors still held that four-point lead going into the final day singles.

But the US team, led by Ben Crenshaw, won eight and halved one of Sunday’s 12 singles matches and won the trophy in dramatic fashion.

Zach Johnson’s men - now 4/1 to win the match - can also take inspiration from last week’s Solheim Cup, when Team USA were in a similar position to that of Europe.

Stacey Lewis’ team won the first morning session 4-0, but Europe fought back at Finca Cortesin and retained the trophy after a 14-14 draw in Malaga.

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