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Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose (Getty Images)
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Europe

Europe fight back in afternoon whitewash

Thomas Bjørn's bold decision to turn to experience for the Friday foursomes paid dividends as Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson got Team Europe off to the perfect start with a 3 and 2 victory.

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.

As a result, Dane Bjørn turned to Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia as Europe searched for a way back in the biennial event.

Rookie Alex Noren, who won on Le Golf National at the HNA Open de France in July, was also selected as all 24 players from both teams played some action on the opening day, which eventually swung in Europe's favour.

A par-bogey start from both pairs saw the opening foursomes get off to a slow burner but Europe soon got on top with Rose dialling in on some great approach play.

However, partner Stenson could not convert winning putts from six feet on the third and fourth but their luck was soon to change.

A par on the next was enough to go one hole up before Stenson finally drained a birdie putt to double their advantage.

World Number One Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, who were so dominant in the morning session after their 4 and 2 win over Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen, could not match par on the seventh as the European pair stormed to a three-hole lead.

Rose held his nerve to roll in a par putt to halve the eighth hole before they shared the next with another par before the United States duo started to struggle even more.

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.

The American duo ensured the match would last a little longer by reducing the deficit to three holes thanks to a par at the 12th and their first birdie at the 13th.

A par at the 15th meant Europe were guaranteed at least half a point but Stenson and Rose sealed the win with a par at the 16th.

As a result, Rose and Stenson extended their record together to five wins and two losses in the Ryder Cup.

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

The American duo 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, Poulter holed a birdie putt at the sixth to halve the deficit and a par at the next proved enough to bring the scores to All Square, with the home pairing in inspired form.

And their momentum did not stop there as a bogey at the eighth by the Americans gave European second pair the lead for the first time and when Watson failed to drain a par on the ninth, Poulter and McIlroy led by two holes at the turn.

The Northern Irishman missed a birdie putt at the 11th to cut their lead to one hole, but they regained their two-hole advantage with par at the next.

Poulter held his nerve to drain a lengthy birdie put at the 13th to move three up and when Watson's failed to chip-in with his third shot at the 16th, the Americans conceded to the delight of the Paris crowd.

An unlikely pairing of Garcia and Noren saw Europe take the lead for the first time in this year's competition America after a dominant 5 and 4 win against Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau.

The European third pairing burst out of the blocks and found themselves two holes up through three after birdies at the second and third, despite DeChambeau lipping out at the latter with a lengthy putt for a gain.

A par at the next only halted their progress momentarily before a run of birdie-birdie-birdie-par-birdie saw Europe's third pairing take a firm grip of the match-up, leading by seven holes at the turn.

The United States hit back with a birdie at the 10th, coupled with Noren's wayward drive into the water, and a par at 11th but they still trailed by five holes.

That soon turned to dormie six at the 12th after the European duo recorded a par and, despite America winning the next, a half on the 14th saw Garcia and Noren secure Europe's third win from three matches in the afternoon.

Tommy Fleetwood capped off a wonderful Ryder Cup debut as the Englishman and Francesco Molinari secured Europe's first ever foursomes whitewash after a 5 and 4 success over Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

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.

However, a par was enough for Europe to regain their three-hole lead at the next, which increased to four at the tenth with another par.

The American pair recorded their first gain at the 11th to trail by three holes but Europe won the 13th hole to be four up with five left to play.

But they only needed one as Molinari holed a birdie at the 14th to mark a historic afternoon at Le Golf National.