Ryder Cup: Team Europe lead 6.5-1.5 after Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm deliver late heroics in fourballs
Europe equaled the largest opening day lead in Ryder Cup history after winning both sessions on the unbeaten day at the Marco Simone GC; Luke Donald’s side still need eight points in the last two days to win back the trophy; Watch day two live on Saturday from 6am, ahead of the first tee shot at 6.35am
By Ali Stafford in Rome
Last updated: 09/29/23 5:46 PM
Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm produced incredible magic in the final hole to help Team Europe build a record-equalling lead after a dramatic session in Friday’s four-ball match at the Ryder Cup.
Europe claimed a clean sweep in an opening session for the first time in Ryder Cup history, winning all four foursomes matches at the Marco Simone GC, then dug deep late in the afternoon session to top the session and take a 6-6 lead .5-1.5 to be taken on day two.
Hovland hit a sensational birdie on the final hole to give him and Tyrrell Hatton half a point in a chaotic match against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, who were left out of the morning session by American captain Zach Johnson.
Matt Fitzpatrick scored brilliantly to claim the first point of his Ryder Cup career, partnering Rory McIlroy in a 5&3 thrashing of Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele, while Rahm finished in style to continue his unbeaten start.
Rahm chipped in to take the 16th hole and recovered from losing the next after a Scottie Scheffler birdie by holing a 35-foot eagle on the par-five last, giving him and Nicolai Hojgaard a tie against Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka.
The other match also went to the 18th hole, with Justin Rose winning the last two holes to take another half point for Europe alongside Robert MacIntyre against Max Homa and Wyndham Clark.
Europe’s five-point lead after the day is equal to the largest in history and matches the lead they held in 2004, with Luke Donald’s side now needing just eight points over the final two days to lift the trophy to win back.
All twelve European players earned at least half a point on the opening day, while a 2.5-1.5 loss in the afternoon session left Team USA unable to win any of its eight games on a remarkable Friday.
More to follow…
Live Ryder Cup Golf
September 30, 2023, 6:00 am
What happens now?
Day two coverage will follow the same timing as Friday, with the opening session for the foursomes starting at 6:35 a.m. and the afternoon fourball sessions starting at 11:25 a.m. Final day singles coverage begins at 9am on Sunday, before the first match kicks off at 10.35am.
Watch the Ryder Cup live exclusively on Sky Sports this week! Live coverage from day two will begin from 6am on Saturday, ahead of the first start time at 6.35am. Stream the Ryder Cup and more for £21 per month for six months with NOW.