Tyrrell Hatton insists the European team are “never out of the fight” after his last-hole birdie provided a bright spot on an otherwise chastening opening day of the 43rd Ryder Cup.
The Englishman’s eight-footer snatched a vital half-point on the 18th against Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler but it was only a minor blow as the United States opened up a 6-2 lead.
Europe will have to make history to hold on to the Ryder Cup after suffering their worst opening day under the current format at a windswept Whistling Straits.
Padraig Harrington’s side ended the day 6-2 behind as Rory McIlroy endured heavy defeats alongside Ian Poulter and Shane Lowry and all six of US captain Steve Stricker’s rookies contributed at least half a point.
Harrington’s side will need a huge improvement on Saturday if they are not to avoid more punishment but Hatton, playing with Europe’s stand-out star in the morning Jon Rahm, hoped his contribution had helped swing some momentum slightly back their way.
“You’re never out of the fight. That was obviously huge for the team there at the end,” whose fist-pump was a rare sight from a player in blue.
“Hopefully that can kind of turn the momentum our way and hopefully we go into tomorrow with momentum on our side.
“It’s obviously a good feeling to roll that one in on the last.
“It was a very special moment. Obviously standing over that, I know it’s a massive putt and it’s going to help the team.
“I didn’t hole any putts today. I just had to trust that one and thankfully I managed to do that.
“It went in and just an amazing feeling. Obviously you could see the emotion there at the end. It was huge for the team.”
World number one Rahm and veteran Sergio Garcia posted Europe’s only point in the morning with a three and one foursomes victory over America’s top pair Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
Garcia, after equalling Sir Nick Faldo’s all-time record for matches won at the Ryder Cup on 23, was rested for the afternoon fourballs and that placed some responsibility on Hatton, playing in his second successive Ryder Cup.
“Obviously tough shoes to fill after he (Rahm) went out with Sergio but I knew about the partnership earlier this week and it was one that I was really excited for,” he added.
“Jon is number one in the world for a reason. He’s a fantastic player, and I just had to hopefully be there to try and back him up when I could.”