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Europe beat the USA 16 1/2 – 11 1/2 to regain the Ryder Cup after producing a dominant opening set of singles performances on Sunday at the Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.
Luke Donald’s side enacted revenge on their harrowing Whistling Straits defeat two-years ago to thrash an American team who constantly found themselves trying to regain ground throughout the competition.
Europe needed just four points in the final session to seal the Ryder Cup trophy after building on their early lead, that was established on day one, throughout the remainder of the weekend.
Tommy Fleetwood guaranteed Europe a half-point and the Ryder Cup as Rickie Fowler conceded on the 16th and hand the hosts the required title-winning score.
Rory McIlroy recovered in superstar showing from his feud with Patrick Cantlay’s caddie on Saturday evening caused by the American staff member refusing to get out of his way when he tried to putt the ball.
Team Europe regained the Ryder Cup after completing a dominant weekend showing against the USA
Tommy Fleetwood guaranteed Europe a half-point on the 16th-hole to secure the Ryder Cup
Viktor Hovland (pictured) scored Europe’s first point of the day after beating Colin Morikawa
Jon Rahm (pictured) rescued a half-point for Europe in his headline round against Scottie Scheffler
Rahm (left) and Scheffler (right) tied their singles round as Europe moved closer to victory
Europe captain Luke Donald transformed the team during his time in charge to lead them to a magical Ryder Cup victory
Jon Rahm kick-started Sunday’s surge to the title as he took an early lead against Scottie Scheffler before being pegged back in a hard-fought contest.
Scheffler missed a match winning putt on the 17th as the ball squirreled just wide of the drop and allowing Rahm a chance to recover on the final hole.
The Spaniard did exactly that with his massive drive setting him up to tie the contest against Scheffler in a battle of two golf colossuses fit for the nearby Roman amphitheatre. A tied point the deserving outcome.
Viktor Hovland enjoyed a more comfortable match against Colin Morikawa by taking a two-up lead on the front nine and continuing to impress on the back-half of the course to seal the first whole point of the day for Europe.
The Norwegian beat his American opposition to record a dominant 4&3 victory and put some blue on the board at a crucial stage in proceedings to move Europe to within three points of Ryder Cup victory.
America looked to fightback with Patrick Cantlay impressing in a 2&1 win over Justin Rose as the visitors rose to seven competition points, but they still needed seven more to seal what would have been an astonishing victory.
Just two-and-a-half more points were needed for the hosts and McIlroy wanted to make sure he would be there to help Europe snatch victory by producing a sensational round against Sam Burns.
The Northern Irishman’s outstanding performance was an ode to the saying ‘don’t poke the sleeping lion’, McIlroy was poked by America on Saturday evening and roared with revenge to thrash his opponent.
Team USA players cut dejected figures as they fell short of completing what would have been a sensational comeback
Rory McIlroy dominated on Sunday afternoon as he thrashed Sam Burns in a 3&1 win
McIlroy’s victory moved Europe to within one-and-a-half points of Ryder Cup victory
Tyrrell Hatton punched the air in delight as his victory moved Europe to within half-a-point of the Ryder Cup
The 34-year-old broke down in tears following his heroics and admitted he used Saturday evening’s incident to fuel him onto a fourth victory of the weekend. His best Ryder Cup and a true leader for Europe.
Just one-and-a-half points were needed and Tyrrell Hatton was on-hand to add another by beating Georgian-born Brian Harman 3&2.
Hatton’s brilliant bunker shot on the 16th placed him to within a metre of the hole and Harman’s miss gave the Englishman a warranted victory.
An emotional Tommy Fleetwood was relieved after helping get Europe over the line
Europe were so near but a look at the scoreboard showed they were also still so far away with the USA up in the next four matches at the Italian course.
Matt Fitzpatrick had the chance to win the Ryder Cup for Europe in his contest with Max Homa but missed his putt as his effort skewed just wide.
Homa produced a perfect chip to put him close to the pin and held his nerve to tap in and clinch victory and move America onto nine points.
Xander Schauffele sealed another win for America as he beat Nicolai Hojgaard 3&2 while reigning US PGA champion Brooks Koepka starred in a 3&2 win against Ludvig Aberg 3&2 as America looked to press on in their search of a dream comeback.
Max Homa (pictured) held his nerve to deny Matt Fitzpatrick winning the Ryder Cup on the 18th
An emotional Shane Lowry tied his match with Jordan Spieth to increase Europe’s score
However, Fleetwood was on-hand to dash America’s ambitions after producing arguably a career-best tee shot on the par three 16th and giving him two shots at winning the hole after Ricky Fowler skewed his effort into the water.
His first was put to within a metre of the hole and Fowler gave him the hole that sealed the win, although Europe would have to wait for the official result to be awarded.
An emotional Shane Lowry guaranteed another half point to move Europe onto 15 overall points as he sank a wicked 15-foot putt on the 17th hole and go one-up against Jordan Spieth.
Fleetwood would then capitalise on a crumbling Fowler to win his round 3&1 and further cement Europe’s dominance as they regained the Ryder Cup before Lowry added another half-point and Scotland’s Robert Macintyre beat Wyndham Clark to complete a nerve-wracking final day in Rome.