Europe whitewashed the United States in foursomes for the first time in Ryder Cup history to turn the 42nd biennial contest on its head in Paris.
Trailing 3-1 after the morning fourballs, home captain Thomas Bjorn kept faith with his planned afternoon pairings – including a desperately out-of-sorts Rory McIlroy – and was rewarded with a remarkable rout at Le Golf National to close day one 5-3 ahead.
Here Press Association Sport recaps Friday’s action.
McIlroy may have struggled in the morning but he showed flashes of brilliance in the afternoon, most notably with a second shot to the 13th which was played from a hanging lie on the edge of a water hazard, but still finished 15 feet from the pin to set up partner Poulter for a winning birdie.
Justin Rose and Jon Rahm twice enjoyed a two-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau in the opening match, but were pegged back to all square when Finau’s water-bound tee-shot on the 16th hit a wooden sleeper surrounding the hazard and bounced up to within three feet of the hole.
A ridiculous slice of fortune for Finau and team U.S.A.
Finau and Johnson would go on to prevail 1 UP against Rose and Rahm, with this shot turning out to be the difference.
The 29-year-old endured a fine debut and also chipped in for eagle on the sixth.
Not only did Europe win a foursomes session 4-0 for the first time, they did it in dominant fashion too.
Brooks Koepka felt terrible after learning his errant drive on the sixth in the morning fourballs had struck a spectator, who thankfully suffered no serious injuries.
“I didn’t actually see her at first, I didn’t know I hit anybody and then someone from the crowd yelled, ‘You hit someone’.
“And I turned around and then obviously you see someone’s lying on the ground, and you’re thinking, oh s*** I did it again.”
Europe take a 5-3 lead into the second day, which is a repeat of the first in terms of format. The fourball matches get under way at 0710BST at 15-minute intervals, with the afternoon foursomes starting at 1250BST with the same interval between matches.