And they’re off. There was footage doing the rounds yesterday morning of thousands of salivating spectators stampeding towards the first hole when the gates of the Marco Simone club swung open at first light and they were unleashed into the grounds.

The thunderous spectacle looked like something you’d see in a nature documentary about the mass migration of the Wildebeest on the plains. Or it could’ve mirrored the scenes of the locals rampaging to the bar in the Glencruitten clubhouse to get a couple of rounds in before Robert MacIntyre began his Ryder Cup debut?

The bawling, bellowing cacophony, meanwhile, that was generated in this golfing Collosseum – the mighty first tee grandstand, not the Glencruitten clubhouse – could’ve whipped up billowing waves in the Trevi Fountain.

Intimidating? Yes. Inspiring. Certainly. MacIntyre, a winner on this course at last year’s Italian Open, ambled out from the tunnel alongside fourballs partner Justin Rose and into a wall of noise. Gulp? “I've never walked off a driving range before almost in tears,” he said as he prepared to go over the top and into battle against the pairing of Max Homa and the US Open champion Wyndham Clark. “I knew what was coming.”

There were some well-kent faces and voices to greet him – it sounded like a good chunk of the Oban population had made it to Rome – but not all the hoots, hollers and howls were accompanied by flapping European flags and waving saltires of support.   

“MacIntyre, we’ve not heard of you,” came the heckle from a goading American gob. You half expected MacIntyre’s mum, Carol, to hit back with a withering retort. She probably didn’t hear it to be fair. She was too focussed on her boy as the nail-nibbling intensified and the nerves in the belly fluttered like spooked butterflies in an enclosure.

“How’s your stomach?,” this correspondent asked her as the official starter prepared to announce the Scottish rookie on to the tee. “Aye,” came a reply through smiling clenched teeth. It wasn’t really an answer but at least some kind of word came out amid the tumult.

When her son thumped an assured, nicely flighted drive down the middle of the fairway, the sense of relief was considerable. “I just wanted him to get it off the tee,” gasped Mrs MacIntyre. He did. With some aplomb. The boy was off and running.

“It was the shot I had envisioned myself hitting for the last three weeks,” added MacIntyre of his opening corker. “I stepped up and absolutely roasted one down the middle.”

A birdie on the first, after a canny approach to some seven feet, wasn’t a bad way to announce himself on to the Ryder Cup stage. He had to make it, of course. Homa had knocked in a birdie of his own to put the pressure on. That early exchange set the tone for a nip-and-tuck encounter.

After Europe had doled out that morning mauling in the foursomes, the fourballs – with the exception of Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick’s 5&3 defeat of Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele – developed into a series of evenly fought, drama-filled tussles.

Over the course of the afternoon in the searing Italian sun, MacIntyre got to experience the ups and downs of the Ryder Cup and all its fluctuating fortunes. In the end, the European duo managed to plunder an unlikely half point in the lengthening shadows of an action-packed day.

Having been two down with two to play, a last-gasp birdie from sturdy stalwart Rose pinched a share of the spoils on the 18th green amid chest-thumping, fist-pumping jubilation. It was something of a bittersweet moment for MacIntyre, though.

“I just struggled on the greens,” he said with a reflective sigh as he mulled over the ones that got away. “But that’s why we have a partner. Justin has been world No 1, he’s done everything and he showed it today.”

Rose himself gave his young partner a back-slap of encouragement. “Bobby will get his time,” said the former US Open champion.

Despite his own frustrations, MacIntyre, the first Scot to play in the Ryder Cup since Stephen Gallacher in 2014, still had plenty to savour.

“It was everything I dreamed of,” he said. “It's the reason that I play golf. That was incredible out there, even watching Justin holing that putt and hearing the crowd behind you. I don't get that feeling anywhere else. That was shinty on steroids.”