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Ryder Cup: Team Europe lead after the first day

That score line on its own would not have surprised too many people because the Europeans were expected to dominate having come into this year's competition (on home soil no less) in better personal and playing form.

However, the journey that Team Europe travelled to arrive at that score was somewhat unconventional and nerve-wrecking.

In fact at one stage there was some 'concern' that the USA would hold the bragging rights and lead for the first day.

The morning fourballs were tight as expected, but to see world number one and number thee Rory McIlroy and Sergio García paired together would surely have suggested they'd make short work of anyone they come up against.

No sir! The pair toiled and strained and even though they lead for a few holes against a very competitive Keegan Bradley and out-of-sorts Philip Mickelson, they never looked convincing.

In the end McIlroy and García could only watch gobsmacked as Mickelson birdied the 18th and stole the match from under their very noses when a half point seemed like a more likely result.

It was interesting to see captain Paul McGinley keep McIlroy and García together for the afternoon foursomes when conventional wisdom would have suggested a change.

The pair looked unconvincing again for the first 16 holes and found them 2 down going to 17.

But then an improbable monster birdie putt from McIlroy won that hole and on 18 García, having to contend with a tree in his line of sight and a dodgy lie in the rough, hit a huge second shot into the par 5, giving his partner a putt for eagle.

McIlroy missed by an inch, but García would tap in for birdie and win the hole and in so doing claim the half point that must have felt like a win after a comeback like that

Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter were never convincing as a team in the morning fourballs and were quickly put the sword losing 5 and 4 to Ryder Cup rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

You will recall that I'd cautioned the level and intensity of the competitiveness from Spieth in particular and he was true to that hype, leading the American charge like he'd been doing this all his life.

European relief was almost audible as McGinley benched Gallacher and Poulter for the afternoon and introduced the highly rated Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell.

Instantly successful, they accounted for Mickelson and Bradley, who could not repeat their morning heroics.

But the pairing of the first day was without doubt Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.

They thumped Major champions Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 5 and 4, saw them get replaced for the afternoon and then proceeded to dispose of their replacements Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2 and 1.

Day 2 starts with fourball matches and it's a bit confusing that Europe have once again parked Du Buisson and McDowell, but they will no doubt be introduced in the afternoon session again.

Poulter gets a chance to redeem himself and teams up with McIlroy against Fowler and Walker.

Fowler really is the real deal and played some amazing golf yesterday and deserved more.

He will have a busy day today as Tom Watson is likely to use him in the afternoon as well.

In normal tournament golf they talk about 'moving day' and in Ryder Cup that day is today.

The Europeans will look to end the day with a strong lead while of course Team USA will fight to the last putt and look to claw back the European lead.

However, as we saw in 2012 at Medinah, a meaningful lead of even as much as 4 points can be overcome in the individual matches on the final day.

Gleneagles is golf 'heaven on earth' for the next two days and if Day 1 is anything to go by then we're in for some of the best and compelling team golf in the world.

Jeremy Harris is the afternoon sports anchor at Kfm and Cape Talk and is the specialist golf correspondent for EWN Sport. He is a keen golfer and plays off a 6 at his home club, Arabella. He is the voice of the Sunshine Tour weekly highlights and monthly magazine programmes on Supersport.

You can follow him on twitter @jeremyharris55

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