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Tommy Fleetwood and Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)
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Europe

Bjørn proud of Europe after Friday performances

Thomas Bjørn's bold decision to turn to experience created Ryder Cup history as Team Europe recorded their first ever foursomes whitewash at Le Golf National. 

Bjørn turned to Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia as Europe searched for a way back in the biennial event, and the call provved to be a masterclass.

Europe had managed just two whitewash sessions in Ryder Cup history, but both of the 4-0 wins came in the fourballs format with the most recent of those coming at The Belfry in 1989.

Europe trailed after a disappointing morning fourballs, where the heroics of Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari ensured the hosts finally got on the scoreboard with a 3 and 1 win over Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed in the anchor match.

But following their landmark foursomes result, Europe overturned a two-point deficit to lead 5-3 after day one in Paris.

However, it was not plain sailing for the Europe as Poulter and Rory McIlroy found themselves two holes down after losing the first and third against Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, but Europe hit back in emphatic style.

"We believe in it as a group. We are a team and we do it with all 12. That was the plan through the whole week. We wanted to get everybody on the golf course today and we did that," Bjorn said.

"Those guys that sat out this morning, I'm very proud of what they did because they came out and showed quality and class in what they did. This was obviously a wonderful afternoon.

"We go home with a good taste in our mouth tonight and then we regroup for tomorrow."

Fleetwood capped off a wonderful Ryder Cup debut with two wins from two matches as the Englishman and Molinari sealed the historic session with a 5 and 4 success against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the anchor match.

It could have been so different for the United States as Spieth narrowly missed a monster birdie putt at the first, while Molinari missed from eight foot to share the opening hole.

The Italian pushed an eagle putt past the right edge at the third, but Fleetwood picked up a gain to put Europe's final duo into the lead.

That advantage soon swelled to three holes by the sixth after a par and a Fleetwood birdie before America pulled one back at the eighth.

Two pars were enough for Europe to move four up through ten holes and, despite America recording their first birdie at the next, sealed victory with par-birdie after Molinari holed a 25-putt to mark a historic afternoon. 

"We were walking down six and we said 'sounds a little bit better this afternoon', and the energy that comes off those guys going in front, I don't really know how to describe it." Fleetwood said.

World number Two Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson got the ball rolling for Europe with an impressive 3 and 2 victory over World Number One Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

The American duo, who were so dominant in the morning session after their 4 and 2 win over Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen, struggled throughout the afternoon session and could only card a three-over-par round during defeat.

The European pair stormed to a three-hole lead thanks to a par-birdie-par from the fifth and there was no stopping them after the turn as their advantage grew bigger.

Johnson pulled a four-footer to hand Rose and Stenson a four-hole lead at the tenth and when the 34 year old missed from similar range at the next, Europe's opening pair were five up through 11 holes.

Johnson and Fowler hit back by reducing the deficit to three holes thanks to a par at the 12th and their first birdie at the 13th but they halved the next three holes to give Europe an opening foursomes win.

McIlroy and Poulter brought Europe level with a superb comeback triumph against Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson.

The American pair found themselves ahead after the opening hole and it got worse for Europe as Poulter found the rough with his tee-shot at the third and when Rory shanked the second shot into more thick stuff, Watson and Simpson held on to go two up.

However, Europe won four successive holes from the sixth and never looked back.

McIlroy missed a birdie putt at the 11th as their lead got cut to one, but they responded to win the next two including Poulter holing a lengthy putt at the 13th.

And when Bubba Watson ran his chip past the hole on the 16th, the American conceded their second defeat of the afternoon.

Rookie Alex Noren, who won on Le Golf National at the HNA Open de France in July, had a Ryder Cup debut to remember as he partner Sergio Garcia to a 5 and 4 win against Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau.

Noren held his nerve as he holed putts at the second and third to earn a two-hole lead before the European pair hit top form.

Garcia and Noren won five succesive holes from the fifth - which saw four gains in that run - to reach the turn with a commanding seven-hole lead.

There was a little wobble as Mickelson and DeChambeau won the 10th 11th and 13th, but the Spaniard and Swede still held a five-hole lead - after winning the 12th - and a birdie at the 14th was enough for a half and Europe's third win from three in the afternoon.

With the victory, Garcia became the most successful Spaniard in the competition's history during his ninth Ryder Cup appearance and is now within touching distance of Nick Faldo's 25-point total record for Europe , with the 38 year old trailing by 1.5 points.