Europe wins Ryder Cup after thrilling finale

2013 08 Euro Team

Captain Montgomerie leads team to triumph despite American fightback

Europe regained the Ryder Cup after a thrilling final session at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.

Leading 9 ½ - 6 ½ going into the rain-delayed final session, Colin Montgomerie's side required just five more points to secure their fourth win in five contests.

However, a stunning fightback from Corey Pavin's American side meant that the outcome of the 38th staging of the biennial battle remained in the balance as Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan walked onto the par-3 17th tee in the bottom match of the singles order.

Two-up at that stage, following a tremendous birdie at the previous hole, McDowell had to win his match to prevent America retaining the trophy. And when Mahan, winner of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August, was unable to convert a lengthy par putt, with his US Open champion opponent facing a five-footer for his three, a famous European victory was confirmed.

Afterwards, a jubilant Montgomerie said: "This is the greatest moment of my golfing career.

"It was my job to try and manage these great players this week and try to make them feel as comfortable as possible and to play their best. And I always said, if they can play to their potential, we would win. And I truly believe they did, and therefore, we did."

Match-winner McDowell heaped praise on his captain, saying: "He's everything there is in the Ryder Cup. To be able to do that for him today was really special."

With the cushion of a three-shot lead at his disposal ahead of the final day's singles -delayed until Monday as a result of the frequent heavy downpours that deluged the Newport course throughout the weekend - Montgomerie opted to send out his big guns early on in a bold bid to win the match early.

However, it didn't all go to plan, with new world No.2 Lee Westwood on the wrong end of a 2&1 defeat to Steve Stricker and Rory McIlroy having to hole a nervy six-footer on the last to salvage a half against Stewart Cink.

Luke Donald settled the nerves with a one-up win over Jim Furyk but US PGA champion Martin Kaymer went down 6&4 to Dustin Johnson.

Ian Poulter made similarly short work of Matt Kuchar, 5&4 the scoreline, and Miguel Angel Jimenez's first ever Ryder Cup singles gave Europe a 13-9 lead to put them within a point and a half of glory.

However, America quickly hit back to win three matches on the spin - courtesy of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson - before 21-year-old wildcard and PGA Tour rookie Rickie Fowler converted three successive birdies to squeeze an unlikey half out of his match with Edoardo Molinari, having been three down with three to play.

That left the destiny of the trophy hinging on the outcome of McDowell and Mahan's match and, after being hauled back to one-up after 15, the Northern Irishman - who won the Wales Open over the Twenty Ten Course earlier this year - drained a crucial birdie putt at the 16th to get back to two-up with two left, before putting the seal on a hard-fought win with a hole to spare.

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