The United States drew first blood in Friday morning's fourballs as World Number One Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler powered to a 4 and 2 victory against Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen.
A brilliant burst of scoring around the turn swung the match in America's favour as back-to-back birdies from Fowler and then Johnson turned a one-hole deficit into a three-hole lead.
McIlroy failed to record a single birdie in the match while Danish rookie Olesen showed some encouraging signs in his first Ryder Cup clash.
After matching each other blow-for-blow for the first seven holes, it was Europe who edged ahead when Olesen coolly slotted in his close-range par putt at the short eighth.
But things began to unravel for Europe when Olesen put his tee-shot into the water at the ninth, and with McIlroy unable to advance his ball far from the thick rough, they handed back their one-hole advantage.
Fowler then knocked in his birdie putt at the tenth to put the United States one up.
After the short 11th was halved in par threes, Johnson doubled America's lead with a birdie at the 12th before repeating the trick at the 13th to open up a three-hole gap.
A brilliant birdie from Fowler at the 14th and Johnson's par at the 15th guaranteed the American pair at least half a point, and when Europe were unable to match Johnson's birdie at the short 16th, the United States put the first point on the board.
A strong finish from Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka saw the American pair come from behind to beat experienced campaigner Justin Rose and debutant Jon Rahm by one hole.
The European duo had led the way for most of the match until Finau enjoyed a huge slice of luck at the short 16th, hitting the sleepers guarding the water and watching on as his ball landed three feet from the cup.
After Finau had tapped in his close-range birdie putt to level things up, the Americans made the most of mistakes from Rahm and Rose on the last to win the 18th and snatch a point.
A birdie from Rose at the first had put Europe ahead before Finau's chip-in eagle at the sixth squared the match.
But Europe responded well, winning the seventh and eighth to take a two-hole lead into the turn.
Koepka's birdie at the par-three 11th reduced Europe's lead to one but they were two up once again soon after when Rose fired a birdie at the 12th.
Another birdie from Koepka saw America win the 13th before a lucky bounce for Finau at the 16th brought them all square.
And after the 17th was halved in par-fours, Rose went for the flag at the 18th but instead found the water, and with Rahm having to chip out of the rough, the Americans both found the green with their respective approach shots.
Koepka made his par putt, leaving Rahm with a 20-footer to halve the match but the Spaniard's effort just evaded the hole.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were made to work hard for their point as they beat Englishmen Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton by one hole in a topsy-turvy match.
Casey and Hatton had looked set for a heavy defeat when Spieth and Thomas took an early three-hole lead thanks to five birdies in the first seven holes from Spieth.
But the English pair won the 11th, 12th and 13th to get back on level terms.
Rookie Thomas birdied the 15th to put America back in front and they halved the remaining three holes to secure a narrow victory.
There was some good news for Europe, however, as Open Champion Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood fought back to record a phenomenal 3 and 1 victory against in-form Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed.
Despite taking an early lead, Fleetwood and Molinari found themselves two down after ten holes when Woods' birdie at the ninth was followed by Reed's at the next.
But Molinari dragged the European pair level with birdies at the 11th and 12th before back-to-back gains from Fleetwood at the 15th and 16th put Europe two up.
And with Woods and Reed both failing to find the 17th green, Molinari rolled in from 15 feet for another birdie to win the match.