Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson inspired a spectacular fightback by holders Europe in Friday afternoon’s four-ball matches before the United States ended a gripping first day at the Ryder Cup with a 5-3 lead, in front of a boisterous American crowd at Hazeltine.
Badly bruised after being swept 4-0 by the Americans in the morning’s foursomes, the Europeans showed great strength of character as they won the second session 3-1 with some sparkling golf.
England’s Olympic champion Rose and British Open winner Stenson set the tone at the top of the order with a commanding 5&4 victory over American young guns Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed while Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello held off late resistance from JB Holmes and Ryan Moore to win 3&2.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Cup rookie Thomas Pieters of Belgium beat Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar 3&2. McIlroy sunk a 20-foot eagle putt at the par-five 16th and answered the crowd’s taunting with a defiant celebration, ending a thrilling opening day at Hazeltine.