Lee Westwood had "a funny feeling" that Nicolas Colsaerts would cope all right with Ryder Cup pressure - but the Belgian has already done far more than cope.
Europe were in danger of going into the weekend 6-2 down in Chicago and suffering their first whitewash in a session since 1981. But a magnificent eight birdies and an eagle from the 29-year-old as he and Westwood beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the last green of the last game meant Jose Maria Olazabal's side trailed only 5-3 after the first day's play.
Westwood, who could not add a single birdie to their effort, told Press Association Sport: "I think it's a big point for the team. We're behind, but it feels like a real confidence boost. You never know with cup rookies, but I had a funny feeling about Nicholas."
He added: "We get on well, I like him as a person and I thought Jose Maria would want to stick him with an experienced player. I don't think there has ever been a better debut than that. I had the best seat in the house - it was a joy to watch and to be 6-2 down would have been disastrous.
"He brought me in to read a putt on 15 and I panicked. I wondered why - everything he looked at went in. It was an amazing, amazing round of golf."
Colsaerts had already holed a string of putts when he faced his biggest test on the 17th green.
Woods, beaten in the morning by Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, had just birdied the previous hole to reduce the gap to one and his tee shot ended less than four feet from the flag.
But the first Belgian ever to appear in the competition rolled in a 22-footer, the hole was halved in birdie twos and the last in par fours when Woods just missed from 15 feet.
"I don't know what to say," Colsaerts commented. "When you're a kid and you dream about playing in this tournament, then you get a chance to go out with somebody like Lee. It felt wonderful to be able to produce and deliver on such a big stage with a lot of eyes on you and this unbelievable atmosphere.
"It was a lot of fun - I've never had so much and I want to have more. This has to be the best round I ever played."