Europe captain Thomas Bjorn refused to get carried away about the prospect of regaining the Ryder Cup, despite enjoying the best session of his long career in the contest.
After losing the opening session 3-1, Bjorn kept faith with his planned afternoon pairings – including a desperately out-of-sorts Rory McIlroy – and was rewarded with Europe’s first foursomes whitewash at Le Golf National.
That gave the home side a 5-3 lead heading into day two, but Bjorn urged his players to quickly refocus on the task at hand, joking that the unbeaten Tommy Fleetwood had been given one hour to celebrate his son Frankie’s first birthday at the team hotel.
“It’s hard to say it’s not right at the top as a session, but then you’ve got to look at the other way and say the morning session wasn’t at the top. That’s the way it is,” Bjorn said.
“When you have a clean sweep, that is something that is pretty special to all those players that were out on that golf course. But you know, we experienced it against us in Hazeltine the first morning, and that’s not a nice thing.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that on Saturday morning, it could be completely different again.
“I thought it was a nice response and a brilliant afternoon. It doesn’t excite me any more than that as I know what’s ahead of us for the next two days.”
United States captain Jim Furyk predicted that his side would bounce back from the unprecedented whitewash and sent out the same fourball pairings on Saturday morning.
That gave Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed a chance to gain revenge against Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari, with Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau taking on Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler up against Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.
The final match pitted Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth against Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm.
“I think our guys will respond, I really do,” Furyk said.
“I have a lot of confidence in this team. I think that obviously it’s going to leave a sour taste in their mouth and they have to sleep on that. We’ll come back tomorrow and I bet we’ll be fine.
“You’ve got to look at it, we played for eight points so far out of 28. The event’s still pretty young.
“We’ve got one more team format tomorrow and then the singles. Eight out of 28, a pretty small percentage of this golf tournament has been played.”