Europe recovered from their worst ever start to a Ryder Cup to produce a sterling fightback in the afternoon fourballs against United States at Hazeltine. Davis Love III's team completed their first whitewash since 1975 but their dominance was curbed by the history-chasing reigning champions.
After being humbled 4-0 in the opening session in front of a raucous crowd in Minnesota, Europe won three fourballs matches in the second half of the day to keep them in contention to win a record-breaking fourth straight Ryder Cup. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson led the way, beating Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed 5&4 after succumbing to the same pair during the foursomes.
"It's one I think thing if you're losing if you're playing badly but we were both pretty happy with our performance in the morning," The Open champion Stenson said. "We missed a couple of putts and that's why we lost. We're just going to go out and try and carry on, and even better, and we did that and made a few putts and got the point back. Makes it sweeter though, when you beat the guys you lost to in the morning, that's for sure."
All-Spanish pair Rafa Cabrera and Sergio Garcia held off a late surge to defeat J.B. Holmes and final wildcard Ryan Moore 3&2, as Europe's comeback began to build momentum. Designs on drawing level by the end of the day were ended however by Brandt Snedeker and debutant Brooks Koepka who thrashed Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett 5&4.
But Rory McIlroy and another of Europe's rookies Thomas Pieters kept Darren Clarke's team in touch with a birdie-laden performance, which despite a revival from Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, ensured the gap was closed to 5-3 heading into day two, as the aforementioned American pair failed to replicate their performance from the morning.
Team USA had threatened to run away with proceedings after blitzing the Europeans with a stunning display in the foursomes. Spieth and Reed continues their fine run by defeating Stenson and Rose 3&2 - and their success would be repeated across the Chaska course.
Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler saw off the threat of McIlroy and his partner Andy Sullivan of England, while Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson won six holes in a row to shock Garcia and Kaymer. PGA Tour player of the year Johnson continued his fine form by help dispose of an out-of-sorts Lee Westwood and Pieters, who was powerless to prevent a 5&4 loss.
Yet in an event all about momentum, Europe will head into day two buoyed by their late heroics and three points closer to retaining golf's most prestigious team prize.