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US beat Europe to regain Ryder Cup

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Ryder Cup 2016: Catch-up with the final day

The United States dominated the final-day singles to win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008, beating Europe 17-11 at Hazeltine.

Trailing 9½-6½ after the first two days, Europe looked set for a Medinah-style comeback when they led in seven of the 12 singles matches.

But the hosts turned the tide, Patrick Reed defeating Rory McIlroy in an epic tussle for the first of seven US wins.

Ryan Moore beat Lee Westwood on the 18th green for the decisive point.

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Ryder Cup 2016: Best shots of singles

It was a particularly sweet victory for US captain Davis Love, who was in charge four years ago at Medinah when Europe won despite being 10-4 down on the second afternoon.

For Europe, who failed in their bid to win the Cup for an unprecedented fourth successive time, Darren Clarke will come under the sort of scrutiny associated with a losing skipper.

Captain’s picks Martin Kaymer and Westwood played on Saturday afternoon despite poor first days, while three rookies – Matt Fitzpatrick, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan – played in only one session before the singles, the latter not seen after Friday’s foursomes.

However, Clarke could have no control over the Americans’ superior putting on Sunday, the whitewash the US handed out in the first foursomes or the fact that all 12 of the US team delivered a point while four Europeans drew blanks.

Reed-McIlroy lives up to billing

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‘Ding dong’ battle between Rory McIlroy Patrick Reed

The tussle between Reed and McIlroy, the first of the 12 matches, was most eagerly anticipated not only because it pitted both team’s animated talisman against the other, but because it was deemed likely to set the tone for the rest of the day.

It exceeded expectations on a raucous, emotionally charged front nine of the highest quality.

At one point, both men were five under after the first eight holes, each playing to the ravenous crowd – Reed bowing, McIlroy cupping his ear and shouting “I can’t hear you”.

The highlight came when McIlroy holed a 60-foot birdie putt on the eighth and, when Reed followed him in from 25 feet for a sensational half, the two shared a fist-bump.

But that was the signal for the quality to drop and a McIlroy bogey on 12 followed by a Reed birdie on 16 left the American two up with two to play.

McIlroy managed to take it down to the last, but Reed’s approach to five feet was enough to seal victory and begin the United States’ march to only a third Ryder Cup win since 1993.

Mickelson and Garcia lead supporting cast

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Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia both carded nine-under rounds of 63

Behind the opening match, Europe were making inroads – Henrik Stenson beat an out-of-sorts Jordan Spieth 32, Rafa Cabrera-Bello again impressed in beating Jimmy Walker 32 while Belgian Thomas Pieters became the first rookie to register four points with a 32 win over JB Holmes.

And, in an incredible battle between Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, the Spaniard somehow managed to claim a half in a classic battle.

The left-handed American, playing in his 11th Ryder Cup but looking for only a third US victory, was inspired, putting his way to 10 birdies.

Garcia, though, nervelessly putted for birdie on both the 17th and 18th after seeing Mickelson hole to ensure the match ended all-square – taking into account concessions, both men carded nine-under-par rounds of 63.

Europe’s lower order overwhelmed

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Ryan Moore was a wildcard pick and was embraced by Davis Love after sealing the winning point

Clarke had front-loaded his singles order, hoping his most in-form players could reduce the deficit and provide the sort of momentum that those at the bottom of the card could feed off.

His plan worked to a degree – by taking three points from the first five, Europe at one point cut the deficit to 10½-9½.

But Europe’s final six, including four rookies, were overwhelmed, taking just a point between them.

Moore needed only to deliver a half but took his match with Westwood on the final green, after being two down with three to play, sealing the Ryder Cup when three matches were still on the course.

When it was all over, the US had their biggest margin of victory in 35 years.

‘We have been kicked around’ – what they said

Europe captain Darren Clarke on BBC Radio 5 live: “I wouldn’t have changed anything. I have spoken about this already to my vice-captains and we were confident. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but even with that we wouldn’t have made any changes.”

USA captain Davis Love on Sky Sports: “We have been criticised for eight or 10 years for not coming together. We have been kicked around for so long. You keep losing and you feel like you have to do something different. We all said we are going to do whatever it takes.”

USA vice-captain Jim Furyk: “We have had our struggles and Europe has got the best of us over the past 20 years – these guys played beautifully all week. It is easy to put pressure on yourself but this group did an amazing job and we’re looking to the future.”

USA’s Jordan Spieth: “We did this for the captain, he had a tough go four years ago. The Europeans put up an unbelievable fight. I’m blessed to be a part of this incredible team and hopefully a change in the future of the Ryder Cup.”

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The USA celebrated winning the Ryder Cup for only the third time in 23 years

Analysis

BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter

“This has been a Ryder Cup team of generational change for the Europeans. Six rookies is always going to be an awful lot, but they will become stronger players because of it.

“In two years’ time you would expect Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia to still be there. Thomas Pieters could be one of the stars.

“I expect Lee Westwood has played his last and it was an awfully difficult week for Danny Willett, but he is the Masters champion. Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan are players who will be much stronger for the experience and, providing their careers stay on same trajectory, they will be there in Paris.”

Chief sports writer Tom Fordyce at Hazeltine

“This was a victory long in the planning and entirely merited for the US, who tore into the competition on Friday morning and finished it at similar speed in Sunday’s singles.

“In between Europe had dared to dream of another unlikely comeback, but with Patrick Reed the fist-pumping, roaring talisman and too few of Darren Clarke’s 12 men matching the rookie magic of Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, by the end the expected fierce battle became a romp. It may be just what the competition needed.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/37537009