Ryder Cup day one: Record-equalling start is fantastic news for Europe

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The hosts claimed a record-equalling five-point lead.
Posted on
September 29, 2023
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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Europe captain Luke Donald insisted his side would not rest on their laurels after claiming a record-equalling five-point lead on the opening day of the 44th Ryder Cup.

After enjoying an unprecedented clean sweep of the opening session, the home side also staged three dramatic comebacks in the afternoon fourballs to ensure the United States failed to win a single match in a day for the first time.

“Unbelievable start, historic day, but we want it to be an historic week so the job is certainly not done,” Donald said.

“We will all celebrate an amazing day, but we’ll be back with the goal of trying to win tomorrow morning’s session. We’ll be getting our guys focused to be back in the saddle, so to speak.

“We’ll enjoy the last hour [of play] and the celebration, but once I’m back at the hotel we’ll have a team meeting and we’ll be back to business.”

Donald was well aware that the United States could easily have ended the day just 5-3 behind as they were ahead in three of the fourballs on the closing stretch, only for Jon Rahm to finish eagle, par, eagle and Viktor Hovland to hole from 20 feet for birdie on the 18th.

Justin Rose then also birdied the last to ensure the five-point advantage and match Europe’s lead at Oakland Hills in 2004, when US captain Hal Sutton disastrously paired Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson twice on the opening day.

Key tee times (all BST)

0635 Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood v Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

0650 Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg v Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka

0705 Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka v Max Homa and Brian Harman

0720 Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton v Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele

Weather forecast

Saturday and Sunday will feature sunny skies with a few afternoon clouds building up over the mountains along with temperatures near 30 degrees centigrade (85F) each afternoon. No rain is expected through the period.

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