Europe’s bid to regain the Ryder Cup got off to a dream start as they stormed into a 4-0 lead over a shellshocked United States in Rome.

Captain Luke Donald’s decision to start with foursomes for the first time since 1993, the last US victory on European soil, paid handsome dividends as his side swept an opening session for the first time in the contest’s history.

Roared on by a partisan crowd, the home side never trailed at any point in all four matches and their opponents won just 10 holes all morning.