Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson inspired a European fightback
Photo Source: PAA
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson inspired a fightback by holders Europe in the afternoon's fourball matches before the US ended a gripping first day at the Ryder Cup with a 5-3 lead.
Badly bruised after being swept 4-0 by the Americans in Friday morning's foursomes at Hazeltine National, the Europeans showed great strength of character as they won the second session 3-1 with some sparkling golf in dazzling afternoon sunshine.
"The guys were disappointed with the way they played this morning and the way they performed, but they showed tremendous bravery and heart and desire to go out and play the way they have done this afternoon," said Europe captain Darren Clarke.
England's Olympic champion Rose and British Open winner Stenson, who went 3-0 together at Gleneagles two years ago, set the tone at the top of the order with a commanding 5-and-4 victory over American young guns Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
The European duo had lost 3-and-2 to Spieth and Reed in the morning but gained immediate revenge as Rose made six birdies on his ball and Stenson seven to earn their team a much-needed first blue point of the week in front of boisterous fans.
"They certainly are tough to beat but Henrik and I did what we do best, we stuck in there ... and made a bunch of birdies," said 2013 US Open champion Rose.
Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello held off late resistance from JB Holmes and Ryan Moore to win 3-and-2 before Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Cup rookie Thomas Pieters of Belgium downed Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar 3-and-2.
McIlroy ended the match in style after the Americans had come from four down after 10 holes to trail by just two, sinking a 20-foot eagle putt at the par-five 16th.
He then twice bowed mockingly to the crowd before letting out a thunderous bellow.
"It's pretty hostile out there, I must say," McIlroy said of the raucous Hazeltine galleries.
"Obviously you don't want to let that get to you, but you want to let them know when you hole a putt how much it means to you."
The only red number for the US in the afternoon came from putting maestro Brandt Snedeker and Cup rookie Brooks Koepka, who crushed Germany's Martin Kaymer and Masters champion Danny Willett of England 5-and-4.
Watched by massive and largely partisan galleries at ultra-long Hazeltine, Rose and Stenson came from one down after three holes to take control against Reed and Spieth in a match of high quality to help turn the tide for Europe in the afternoon.
On a chilly and overcast morning, the US had completed their first sweep in an opening session since 1975 at Laurel Valley, putting pressure on the Europeans to battle back on Friday afternoon.
Europe have won eight of the past 10 Ryder Cups, but face a challenging task to retain the trophy with the US having lost at home only four times since the matches began in 1927.