Irish golfers Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry starred during the Friday morning foursomes at the Ryder Cup as Team Europe swept the opening session for the first time in the tournament's history. 

McIlroy and English golfer Tommy Fleetwood defeated the American duo of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele 2&1 in the final foursome on Friday morning, while Lowry and Austrian golfer Sepp Straka defeated Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa 2&1 in an earlier match at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome. 

Elsewhere, Spain's Jon Rahm and England's Tyrrell Hatton beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3, while Norway's Viktor Hovland and Sweden's Ludvig Aberg defeated Max Homa and Brian Harman 4&3. 

Europe never trailed during any of the morning matches as they stormed into an unexpected 4-0 lead, with captain Luke Donald's decision to start with a morning foursome instead of a traditional fourball paying dividends. 

Lowry and Ryder Cup debutant Straka were made to sweat toward the end of their match on Friday morning, seeing their four-hole lead reduced to two with two holes remaining. 

However, Strake held his nerve to roll in a par putt on the 17th, ensuring a 2&1 victory.

"We're off to a great start this morning," Lowry said following Friday morning's foursome. "We just need to keep the foot down. I think myself and Sepp gelled well today, I'm very happy out there with him and I enjoyed myself.

"We've probably known for maybe a couple of weeks so we might work this morning together. And you know, we play the same golf ball and we use the same stuff.

"So kind of made sense. We were similar type people. But I'm a bit far more fiery than him. Sepp is pretty laid back but we just enjoyed it out there." 

Meanwhile, McIlroy and Fleetwood handed Cantlay and Schauffele their first defeat in six matches for the USA in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. 

The duo - humorously dubbed FleetwoodMac - led by one after 16 holes before McIlroy stitched a glorious tee shot on the 17th, leaving Fleetwood with a simple putt from three feet for birdie. Schauffele couldn't sink a much harder putt from 15 feet, ensuring a 2&1 victory for McIlroy and Fleetwood and securing a clean sweep for Team Europe. 

"It's been an unbelievable session," McIlroy said afterward. !We switched the format this year to go foursomes first because statistically, that's our better session. And all week, all we've been talking about is getting off to fast starts." 

RORY MCILROY, TAKE A BOW! 🎯#TeamEurope | #RyderCup

— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 29, 2023

McIlroy is back out for the afternoon fourballs, playing alongside England's Matt Fitzpatrick against Morikawa and Schauffele. 

Lowry has not been selected for the afternoon fourballs, with all four matches now underway. 

Europe is bidding to regain the Ryder Cup after suffering a comprehensive 19-9 defeat at Whistling Straits two years ago. Team Europe has won each of the last six Ryder Cups on home soil.