Rory McIlroy says he joked to Matthew Fitzpatrick 'at least he contributed twice' after the Englishman stunned Ryder Cup viewers on Friday.
Fitzpatrick had a miserable 0-5-0 record in the contest after two Cup appearances but he finally got a point for Europe alongside McIlroy.
McIlroy, 34, already played in the anchor match in the morning session with England's Tommy Fleetwood.
They defeated Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay 2&1 in an enthralling encounter to make it 4-0 Europe after the first session.
Fresh-legged Fitzpatrick told reporters after Europe opened up a five-point lead in Rome on Friday evening that McIlroy told him at one stage: "Sorry I couldn't be more help."
"He just stood there laughing," he said.
Fitzpatrick birdied five holes in a row from the second. "I just had goosebumps," he said. "It was probably the best warm up I've ever had since the U.S. Open."
"You know, for the first nine holes I was trying to hang on to this man's coattails," a delighted McIlroy said. "I said to him walking up 10, 'At least I contributed twice.'"
Hovland drained a gutsy putt at the last.
Rahm was paired with rookie Nicolai Hojgaard and the Spaniard finished with two eagles to claw back half a point for Europe.
And Robert MacIntyre and Justin Rose also shared a point with Wyndham Clark and Max Homa.
It meant that Europe had a 6.5 - 1.5 lead, their biggest ever since 2004.
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