The sun had only just risen from behind the Lazio hills when Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton stood on the Marco Simone’s first tee to lead out the opening match of the 44th Ryder Cup. Just after daylight had broken, “Nessun Dorma,” an opera song from Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, belted out over the speakers.

“None shall sleep, none shall sleep!” the song begins.

Not many had slept, at least not for eight hours anyway. Everyone had to be up early, well before the 7.35am local time first foursomes match, which Rahm and Hatton played against Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, eventually winning, 4 and 3. Fans were literally sprinting through the grounds at 5.45am to line up for the 6.30am admission into the first tee grandstands.

For Rahm, the excitement of his third appearance in the biennial teams contest was almost too much.

“Usually the feelings you have down the stretch in a tournament I had hitting my first warm-up put at 6.20am in the dark,” the Spaniard said. “It increasingly got higher until we hit that tee shot on the first hole.”

Scheffler hit the first shot of the Ryder Cup before Rahm blasted one down the right side of the fairway. Rahm’s countryman, Spanish F1 driver Carlos Sainz, was among those inside the ropes watching. It was fitting as the Rahm/Hatton pairing was almost as high-octane as the Ferrari star. On No. 3, Rahm holed a birdie putt from off the green to take the 1-up lead. At the driveable par-4 fifth, Rahm’s tee shot, and Hatton’s subsequent pitch, left a three-foot birdie that was not given, so Rahm buried it. At the par-3 seventh, two-time major winner Rahm’s tee shot bounced off the flagstick for a near ace. There was no stopping Rahm/Hatton.

“I think it might have been too much to go in, but it got the job done,” Rahm said modestly. “It was a perfect number [for a 7-iron]. “Obviously would have been amazing to make it.”

Even when they were in trouble, Rahm or Hatton manufactured brilliant par saves, like the former’s chip-in for par at No. 10. The match was all but over at the par-5 12th when World No. 3 Rahm found the green in two. With the Americans on in four, they conceded the hole.

“[Foursomes] is quite stressful,” Rahm said, “but the strongest part of my game is ball-striking, right, and what Tyrrell and I did really well today is hit the shots that we needed. Any time we needed the right shot to change the momentum, we did.”

Added Hatton: “He’s obviously very positive between shots, and great company, and he’s always right by your side. He’s a great teammate.”

The match ended on No. 15, and Rahm and Hatton had secured Europe the first point of the 2023 Ryder Cup. The 4-and-3 margin was demoralising for World No. 1 Scheffler and his close friend Burns, who never truly looked like they had a chance. The foursomes session ended up in a 4-0 clean-sweep for Europe.

Rahm and Hatton were split up for Friday afternoon’s four-ball session. Captain Luke Donald placed Hatton with Viktor Hovland against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Rahm was paired with Nicolai Hojgaard to take on Scheffler and Brooks Koepka.

Still, Rahm welcomed another pairing with Hatton, with whom he shares a fiery temper and similar disgust at errant shots. “Some people might wonder why we got paired together recently; we think about the game very similarly and we react to the game very similarly and we understand each other,” Rahm said. “When one of us misses a shot, we know what’s going on in the other player’s mind. We might vocalise it differently, but at the end of the day it’s the same process. It’s like being in the same brain.”