Ryder Cup player ratings: Viktor Hovland sets tone with blistering start in Rome

Viktor Hovland - Ryder Cup player ratings: Viktor Hovland sets tone with blistering start in Rome
Viktor Hovland (centre, left) was hugely impressive from the start - Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

Europe got their Ryder Cup off to a near-perfect start on Friday after taking a record-equalling five-point lead over Team USA. But who, according to Telegraph Sport, impressed most, and who fell short at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, near Rome?

Team Europe

Rory McIlroy

From Whistling Straits tears to cheers here, with two successful matches. Foursome was in balance before a brilliant tee shot to two feet at the 17th. 8/10

Jon Rahm

Summoned moment of day with eagle on 18th in fourballs. Sensational chip on 16th, in from the greenside rough, to hole from 50ft in the fourballs. 9/10

Viktor Hovland

Warrior. Came racing out of blocks in blistering form in the foursomes. Fourballs tighter before he sank it over a ridge from 18ft to secure the half-point. 9½/10

Matt Fitzpatrick

Four birdies and an eagle in an extraordinary afternoon run from the Sheffield golfer. McIlroy, at that point, was his passenger. Magnificent spell. 9/10

Rory McIlroy (left) and Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick (right) put to rest the ghosts of his past Ryder Cups while playing alongside Rory McIlroy - Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann

Tyrrell Hatton

Team Angry pairing with Rahm was red hot in the morning, but characteristic F-bombs were more plentiful in afternoon amid some mixed form. 7½/10

Tommy Fleetwood

Fleetwood tapped home for the winner on the 17th to set up Europe’s first ever 4-0 opening session. Visibly enjoying himself. 7½/10

Robert MacIntyre

Tough going in fourballs. A wonderful tee shot faded elegantly on the ninth but could not match it with his putting. The rookie will need an arm round him. 5/10

Justin Rose

Rock star finish. Salvaged half a point pretty much single-handedly, having double birdied the 17th and 18th. 8½/10

Justin Rose salvaged half a point with his putt on the 18th - Ryder Cup player ratings: Viktor Hovland sets tone with blistering start in Rome
Justin Rose salvaged half a point with his putt on the 18th - Getty Images/Paul Ellis

Nicolai Hojgaard

Hojgaard’s debut got off to the perfect start with a huge 47ft putt for birdie giving Europe a one up lead in two matches. Form dipped in the back nine. 7½/10

Sepp Straka

Straka reached the driveable par-four 16th three up with Shane Lowry in the foursomes. Impressive debut apart from driving into water on fifth. 8/10

Shane Lowry

A contentious captain’s pick started proving his doubters wrong. Very solid display from a pairing chosen because they both play Srixon balls. 8/10

Ludvig Aberg

Shot of his day was a 15ft par putt to win the ninth and go three up. He then birdied to go four up during a hot patch. 7½/10

Team USA

Justin Thomas

Left out of foursomes, but held his own in fourballs, with a birdie on the sixth. After Hovland sank from 20ft on 18th, he held nerve to earn half-point. 8/10

Justin Thomas - Ryder Cup player ratings: Viktor Hovland sets tone with blistering start in Rome
Justin Thomas walks off the 18th after halving his fourball - Reuters/Carl Recine

Jordan Spieth

Also absent from the morning session, but his chip in from the rough for birdie levelled things up at the fourth and settled nerves. 7/10

Brooks Koepka

Impressive birdie on 15th but visibly gobsmacked by Rahm’s 18th heroics. Brought in after morning whitewash, there were some boos for the LIV rebel. 7/10

Scottie Scheffler

Started day on sour note as a spectator shouted “you suck Scottie” as he was on his practice swing. Almost pitched tee shot in the hole to secure a half-point. 7½/10

Brian Harman

The Open winner bought a tractor with his winnings at Hoylake. Here, he found himself struggling to get out of gear as he was steamrollered by Hovland. 3/10

Collin Morikawa

Anonymous performance from the 26-year-old who began his PGA Tour career with 22 consecutive made cuts. Fitzpatrick ran amok against his pairing. 2/10

Rickie Fowler

Shoulders looked slumped after a distressing morning in which he failed to get into his stride against Lowry and Straka. 2/10

Sam Burns

Miserable display. With signature mullet and “USA’’ carved into his hair, there was no escaping the heckles as he made his way back to the locker room. 1/10

Sam Burns
Sam Burns endured a day to forget at the Ryder Cup - EPA/Ettore Ferrari

Max Homa

Impressive birdie on the third, but Hovland was too hot for him during one of the most thrilling match-ups of the day in the foursomes. 7/10

Wyndham Clark

The US Open champion claimed Europe would be “leaking oil” and “mentally fatigued” by Sunday. As it turns out, he and his team-mates are misfiring. 7/10

Xander Schauffele

Even one of Schauffele’s better shots, out of the rough on the first, drew giggles as one fan shouted “sausages” at the top of his lungs. 4/10

Patrick Cantlay

Struggled to get going even after hitting his tee shot at the par three next to 15ft. McIlroy then quickly shut him down with his best shot of the day. 5/10