Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines: Europe’s finest golfers recaptured the Ryder Cup Sunday, holding off a dramatic United States fightback to complete an emotional upset victory with Italy’s Francesco Molinari clinching the outcome.
Reigning British Open champion Molinari defeated five-time major winner Phil Mickelson 4 and 2 to give Europe an insurmountable 14 1/2-9 1/2 lead over the favoured Americans in the biennial team showdown at Le Golf National.
In the process, Molinari, who had been winless in six prior Ryder Cup matches, became the first European and only the fourth player ever to go 5-for-5 in a Ryder Cup and did so just two months after hoisting the Claret Jug.
Europe had seized a 10-6 edge in Saturday’s foursomes and fourballs matches and needed only 4 1/2 points from Sunday’s 12 singles matches to swipe the trophy.
The US team needed to match the greatest last-day comebacks in the tournament history by taking eight singles points to keep the Cup, but there was no French magic like Europe’s 2012 ‘Miracle at Medinah’ or the Americans’ 1999 victory in the ‘Battle of Brookline’.
The Americans, who haven’t won in Europe since 1993, lead the all-time rivalry 26-14 with two drawn but the Europeans’ ninth victory in the past 12 attempts gave them an 11-8 with one drawn edge since expansion from a British-Irish squad after 1977.
Americans pulled within 10 1/2-9 1/2 Sunday before Europe’s first singles victory came from Danish rookie Thorbjorn Olesen, who beat three-time major winner Jordan Spieth 5 and 4.
Spain’s Jon Rahm followed by downing Tiger Woods 2 and 1, keeping the 14-time major champion winless in four matches this week and snuffing out any US momentum.
England’s Ian Poulter, Europe’s wildcard talisman, defeated the World No.1 Dustin Johnson 2-up. That set the stage for Molinari to clinch the win after Mickelson found water at 16 and conceded.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia followed that by beating Rickie Fowler 2 and 1, vaulting him to 25.5 career Ryder Cup points, breaking Nick Faldo’s old mark of 25.
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