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Europe beats United States to reclaim Ryder Cup

Europe regained the Ryder Cup from the USA as star man Francesco Molinari became the first-ever European to win all five of his matches with a 4 and 2 victory over Phil Mickelson on Sunday.

Europe beats United States to reclaim Ryder Cup
Italian golfer Francesco Molinari (C) celebrates Europe's win with English golfer Tommy Fleetwood on the final day of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. Photo:
Ian Poulter's dramatic 2-up win against Dustin Johnson had sent Thomas Bjørn's hosts to a guaranteed 14 points with Henrik Stenson 5-up on Bubba Watson with five to play, before Molinari finished the job.
 
“It's been an incredible week,” said Molinari. “It's been a long week, playing five matches, but you know, again, I 
stepped it up when I had to and you know, that putt on 14 was great. Just amazing.”
 
Jon Rahm had earlier dealt Tiger Woods a fourth loss of the Ryder Cup as Europe weathered an early fightback from the US at Le Golf National.
 
Spanish rookie Rahm won his first Ryder Cup point with a 2 and 1 victory over Woods, the American suffering just his second singles defeat in eight matches in the competition.
 
“To beat Tiger, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, on Sunday, with a pivotal point, I was so aware of it, it's the best feeling of my life,” said the 23-year-old Rahm.
 
Fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia became the leading points-scorer in Ryder Cup history with his 2 and 1 win over 
American Rickie Fowler. The 38-year-old, a controversial wildcard pick by Bjørn after a poor season, passed Nick Faldo's previous mark of 25 points, reaching 25.5 since making his debut in 1999.
 
Rahm's triumph came after Denmark's Thorbjørn Olesen, in the seventh match to tee off, powered to an impressive 5 and 4 win over the in-form Jordan Spieth to quell the US team's momentum.
 
Jim Furyk's men had pulled to within a point after claiming 3.5 points from the first four matches on Sunday, with Justin Thomas defeating Rory McIlroy 1-up in the opening clash.
 
A calamitous 18th hole for McIlroy saw the Northern Irishman find the bunker with his tee shot, as well as the water, as Thomas picked up his fourth point of the competition.
 
Paul Casey and Brooks Koepka halved the second match, while Webb Simpson beat Justin Rose 3 and 2 after carding six birdies to put away the Olympic champion on the Albatros course.
 
Tony Finau romped to a 6 and 4 win over fellow rookie Tommy Fleetwood, denying the Englishman the chance to become the first European to win five points from a possible five at the Ryder Cup.

GOLF

USA need hot start to equal record comeback and keep Ryder Cup

United States captain Jim Furyk says his squad will need a fast start Sunday in order to match the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history and retain the trophy by capturing eight points from 12 singles matches.

USA need hot start to equal record comeback and keep Ryder Cup
US golfers Tiger Woods (R) and Bryson Dechambeau during their foursomes match on the second day of the 42nd Ryder Cup on Saturday. PHOTO: FRANCK FIFE / AFP
The defending champion Americans dropped five of eight matches for a second consecutive day at Le Golf National, giving Europe a 10-6 lead entering the final 12 matches.
 
“We've been outplayed. I don't think there's a guy in my team room would argue with me. Right now, they have played better golf and we have to be able to do just that tomorrow,” Furyk said.
 
“We have to go out there and start out hot, put a little pressure on them, and we have to be the better team tomorrow. There's no other bones about it. We're trying to make some magic tomorrow.”
 
The US squad, trying to snap a 25-year European win drought, need 14 points to keep the Cup while Europe need 14 1/2 — only four wins with one match halved — to win for the ninth time in 12 attempts.
 
“Early wins tomorrow go a long way,” said three-time major champion Jordan Spieth. “If they get a couple points on the board, we have to win something like eight out of the next 10. So we've got to get off to a good start. We know that. But even if we were leading, we would say the same.”
 
The reeling Americans drew upon memories of their epic 1999 “Battle of Brookline” rally, when they trailed 10-6 but stunned Europe in the final singles session, and bitter flashbacks from the “Miracle at Medinah”, when Europe overcame the same deficit entering Sunday to claim the trophy.
 
“I think it might be our turn to flip it around on them,” world number one Dustin Johnson said.
 
Furyk's memories of Medinah and Brookline are clear. In 1999, he recalls captain Ben Crenshaw's fiery speech on Saturday night.
 
'Anything can happen'
 
“I remember every damn word of it. We had a talk about it,” Furyk said. “It sure sucked being on the other side, I will say that. [Medinah] was one of the worst days of my career. I remember it probably even better. The feeling of the momentum switching… it's a tough feeling to stomach. I remember it very well. It's probably in my list of top three worst nightmares in golf. So I remember it very, very vividly and very clearly.”
 
The Americans won the first six singles matches in 1999 while Europe took the first five at Medinah.
 
“Anything can happen,” three-time major winner and world number three Brooks Koepka said. “If you go out and everybody does what they're supposed to do, they should essentially win the match.
 
“You just need to try to find some motivation, some momentum, anything you can to really build on it and go out and finish on a high note.”
 
The Americans, the oddsmakers' favourites when the week began, boast 11 of the world's 17 top-ranked golfers, with nine major winners who have taken a combined 31 major crowns, 14 of them belonging to Tiger Woods.
 
“Our team can certainly pull it off in singles,” 10th-ranked Spieth said. “It has been done before. We're two evenly matched teams and here on their soil with the fans they have an extra gear.”
 
Or as two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson put it: “We better play good.”
 
“We got a lot of work to do,” echoed Watson's foursomes partner Webb Simpson. “But we still got a chance.”
 
By AFP's Jim Slater