Europe end first day of Ryder Cup with commanding five-point lead

Venue: Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, Rome Dates: 29 Sep – 1 Oct
Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Sounds, live text updates on BBC Sport website and daily highlights on BBC2

Europe opened a healthy 6½-1½ lead over the United States after a “sensational” opening day of the Ryder Cup in Rome.

The home side swept the morning session for the first time to race into a 4-0 lead and then held off a spirited US fightback to win the afternoon 2½ -1½.

Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose all crucially holed putts on the 18th to pick up half points for Europe.

And England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, playing with Rory McIlroy, secured his first Ryder Cup point in a stunning 5&3 win.

Fitzpatrick, the 2022 US Open champion, rattled off four birdies and an eagle from the second hole to put his pairing firmly in command of the bottom match against Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa. McIlroy also knocked in a birdie of his own on the seventh as they reached six up.

“Those putts by Viktor, Jon and Rosie make a huge difference,” Europe captain Luke Donald told BBC Sport.

“It was sensational, a dream start for us. This morning was an amazing performance by the guys and this afternoon was tough.

“The US came back, we knew they would. They had a stretch there in the middle where the momentum was turning their way but man, did we turn it back.”

This is the first time the US have not won a single match in a day and it is the joint-highest lead after day one, level with Europe in 2004 and the US in 1975.

“The fact that the Americans didn’t win a full point was incredible and just shows the heart, grit and determination that the European team has,” McIlroy told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

“We have a ton of momentum and we’ll try to ride the crowd’s energy to win both sessions [on Saturday].”

More to follow.


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