Europe sweeps U.S., 4-0, in opening foursomes at Ryder Cup

Europe sweeps U.S., 4-0, in opening foursomes at Ryder Cup
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The sun was shining and the rout was on Friday morning at Marco Simone Golf Club.

Team Europe swept the foursomes session to take a commanding 4-0 lead into the afternoon fourballs, with the Americans never leading a single match. Not for one hole, not in any match.

It’s the first time Europe has blanked the Americans in the opening session of the matches (the U.S. won, 4-0, in opening foursomes in 2016 at Hazeltine).

Last week, the U.S. swept the opening session in the Solheim Cup but Europe clawed back to retain the cup with a tie. This time, however, it’s the visitors who are in a deep hole.

Here’s how the Day 1 foursomes played out in Italy:

Match 1: Jon Rahm/Tyrrell Hatton (EUR) def. Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns (U.S.), 4 and 3

Rahm and Hatton’s dominant victory was highlighted by the Spaniard’s near-ace at the par-3 seventh.

After the Europeans made the turn, 2 up, it looked as if the Americans would be able to pull within one at the par-4 10th. Rahm had other plans, chipping in for par from short of the green to tie the hole.

Rahm and Hatton proceeded to win the 11th and 12th holes to go 4 up and coast to the finish line to put the first point on the board for Team Europe.

Match 2: Viktor Hovland/Ludvig Aberg (EUR) def. Max Homa/Brian Harman (U.S.), 4 and 3

Hovland brought the fireworks early in this one, chipping in from just off the green at the par-4 first for birdie to take a 1-up lead.

Aberg was solid in his Ryder Cup debut, as the pair took a 3-up lead into the back nine and tacked another one on with a birdie at the par-4 14th.

Hovland ended the match at No. 15 when he splashed a greenside bunker shot to within a foot for a conceded par and another point for the Euros.

Match 3: Shane Lowry/Sepp Straka (EUR) def. Collin Morikawa/Rickie Fowler (U.S.), 2 and 1

This was never as close as the score would indicate.

Lowry and Straka were 4 up through nine holes and the U.S. could get no closer than 2 down on the back nine. The big fellas closed it out with a routine par at the 16th, putting Europe up, 3-0, with one match left in the session.

Match 4: Rory McIlroy/Tommy Fleetwood (EUR) def. Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay, 2 and 1

This was the closest of the early contests, with Europe leading, 1 up, through 14 holes. It appeared the American tandem would draw all square at the 15th, with the Euros out of position, but Fleetwood rolled in a 20-footer for par and Schauffele followed by missing a 5-footer to match.

Staked to a 2-up lead with three to play, Fleetwood hit the team’s tee shot into the bank of the green on the drivable par-4 16th, barely clearing the water. They could not get up and down, while the U.S. made birdie.

Cantlay then hit a solid tee shot on the par-3 17th, inside 20 feet. But McIlroy responded with a dart to 3 feet.

After Schauffele missed, Fleetwood rolled his in to complete the blanking.

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