An inspired Jon Rahm led from the front as Europe emphatically drew first blood in their bid to regain the Ryder Cup from the United States in Rome.
Rahm and partner Tyrrell Hatton had acquired the nickname of “Team Angry” due to their fiery nature, but they were all smiles as they stormed to a 4&3 victory over world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns.
The lead was soon doubled as Viktor Hovland and rookie Ludvig Aberg enjoyed victory over Open champion Brian Harman and Max Homa by the same margin at Marco Simone.
And with the home side also ahead in the remaining two matches, captain Luke Donald was on target to oversee a clean sweep of the opening session for the first time in the history of the biennial contest.
What a start 💪
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 29, 2023
Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka were two up with five to play on Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa, with Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood also two up in the fourth match against the top American duo of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
Rahm holed from 27 feet for birdie on the third and short range on the fifth, before hitting the pin with his tee shot on the par-three seventh to leave Hatton with a tap-in birdie.
The European pair looked set to lose the 10th until Rahm chipped in for an unlikely par and the Masters champion then drove the green on the short 11th and found the putting surface in two on the par-five 12th.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 29, 2023
That led to a conceded eagle and the out-of-sorts American pair were put of their misery on the 15th.
“Extremely satisfying. I had a good feeling about Tyrrell all along. It was good to come out here and see him perform the way he did,” said Rahm.
“It was an incredble foursome match and we played as confident as two people could play.”
Hatton added: “Tee to green I was generally fairly solid, naturally disappointed with some of the putts I missed, but ultimately we won our point and that was our goal.”