Whitewash! Europe sweep foursomes to stun United States and lead 5-3
Europe lead the United States 5-3 after winning all four foursomes matches on Friday afternoon in one of the greatest momentum shifts in recent Ryder Cup history.
The hosts trailed 3-1 after the opening fourballs, but the second session saw an unlikely comeback as the leaderboard lit up blue.
First, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose combined to beat Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler 3&2, before Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter downed Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 4&2.
It got worse for the Americans. Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren inflicted a 5&4 defeat on Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, with a miserable session completed when Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood – the only Europeans to score a point in the morning – beating Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth by the same margin.
Alex Noren celebrates with Sergio Garcia during the afternoon foursome matchesGetty Images
The golf course changed in the afternoon with the wind picking up, and with it the momentum swung in Europe's favour.
It was a barnstorming comeback, the like not seen by a European team in a foursome before. Indeed, it was the first time that Team Europe completed a whitewash in any session since 1989.
They suffered a 4-0 reverse in the format en route to defeat in Hazeltine two years ago, but the nature of the victories will have sent European captain Thomas Bjorn off into the evening feeling confident that the momentum is now strongly on his side.
The Swede told Sky Sports: "We are one team and we did it with all 12 today. That was the plan. Those guys that sat out this morning I’m very proud of what they did because they came out and showed quality, class and this was a wonderful afternoon.
Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy helped swing the balance in Europe's favourGetty Images
"There's a long way to go in this but we go home with a good taste now and then we regroup for tomorrow."
Among the highlights was the success of Poulter and McIlroy, who was badly off form in the morning. The duo from two-down to triumph 4&2 over Simpson and Watson in a game that had the massive crowds finally roaring after they had little to shout about in the morning.
Jordan Spieth of the United States celebrates during the morning fourball matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 28, 2018 in Paris, France.Eurosport
The US made an impressive start to their defence as they produced a rousing finish to claim a 3-1 lead after the Friday morning fourballs.
Jim Furyk's side always looked the team more in touch with their game as only a 3&1 defeat for Patrick Reed and a toiling Tour champion Tiger Woods – struggling with a stiff back – to Open champion Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood in the bottom match prevented a whitewash.
Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau held out for a 1up victory over Justin Rose and Jon Rahm - who were two up with six holes remaining - while Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler were utterly dominated in a 4&2 victory over a poor Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen.
Paul Casey and Tyrell Hatton battled back from three down against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas after seven holes only for Thomas to birdie the 15th to apply the pressure.
Hatton missed a birdie attempt at the 18th to halve the match as the USA ended the session well in control of their own destiny with a two-point lead.
Saturday morning fourballs
- Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau (US) v Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia (Europe)
- Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson (US) v Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton (Europe)
- Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods (US) v Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood (Europe)
- Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (US) v Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm (Europe)
Friday afternoon foursomes: Europe 5 USA 3
- Henrik Stenson & Justin Rose beat Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler 3&2
- Rory McIlroy & Ian Poulter beat Bubba Watson & Webb Simpson 4&2
- Sergio Garcia & Alex Noren beat Phil Mickelson & Bryson DeChambeau 5&4
- Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood beat Justin Thomas & Jordan Spieth 5&4
Friday morning fourballs: Europe 1 USA 3
- Justin Rose & Jon Rahm lost to Brooks Koepka & Tony Finau 1UP
- Rory McIlroy & Thorbjørn Olesen lost to Johnson & Rickie Fowler 4&2
- Paul Casey & Tyrell Hatton lost to Jordan Spieth & Justin Thomas 1UP
- Franceso Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood beat Patrick Reed & Tiger Woods 3&1