Europe takes a 5-3 lead into the Saturday fourballs at the 2014 Ryder Cup after a fantastic collective performance in the Friday foursomes.
They trailed by a solitary point after the morning session but stormed back in the afternoon to put themselves in a strong position heading into day two.
In the morning, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson played some fantastic golf en route to a 5&4 victory over an out of sorts Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson.
Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer looked destined to deliver a point but Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler fought back over the closing few holes to deliver a half for Tom Watson.
In perhaps the surprise of the day, ‘Mr Ryder Cup’ Ian Poulter and home hope Stephen Gallacher were trounced by the rookie pairing of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, while Rory and McIlroy and Sergio Garcia lost the 18th to surrender the opening match to Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson.
As such, Europe trailed by 2.5-1.5 after the first session, but a brilliant afternoon turned the contest on its head.
Having relinquished the advantage in the morning, the Europeans looked determined to bounce back. And they did, in impressive style.
All four pairings were up early on in their matches – including new partnerships Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson and Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson, who raced into a three-up lead after five holes.
The Americans bounced back towards the middle of the round – with Walker and Fowler surging into the lead against a struggling McIlroy and Garcia and Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan pegging back Rose and Stenson – but the momentum swung in Europe’s favour once more.
Donaldson and Westwood survived a late scare to see off Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk, while Rose and Stenson won the 15th and 17th to secure their second point of the day.
McIlroy and Garcia, however, were struggling to find fairways and found themselves two down with two to play.
But the world number one holed a 30-footer to halve the deficit and Garcia found the green with his second to the par-5 18th to set up a birdie and the unlikeliest of halves.
In the anchor match, Dubuisson – who looked supreme en debut – and McDowell never trailed and inflicted a 3&2 defeat on Mickelson and Bradley – the first time the American duo had been defeated at the Ryder Cup.
The win prompted McDowell to claim Dubuisson was ‘the next superstar of European golf.
Saturday four ball pairings:
Rose & Stenson v. Kuchar & Watson
Donaldson & Westwood v. Mahan and Furyk
Bjorn & Kaymer v. Spieth & Reed
McIlroy & Poulter v. Fowler & Watson