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Europe regain Ryder Cup with win over United States on dramatic day in Rome

The 44th Ryder CupVenue: Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, Rome Dates: 29 Sep – 1 OctCoverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Sounds, live text updates on BBC Sport website and daily highlights on BBC Two

Luke Donald endured a “rollercoaster of emotions” as Europe regained the Ryder Cup in dramatic fashion in Rome.

With Europe needing four points from Sunday’s 12 singles matches to beat the United States, Tommy Fleetwood won the 11th game to pass the 14½ required.

And with hundreds of fans crammed around the edge of the 18th green, Ireland’s Shane Lowry wrapped up a 16½-11½ win.

“It looked good early but then looked like it could be a bad day,” Europe captain Donald told BBC Sport.

“Our guys hung in there like I knew they would. The first two days were key to us to building our lead.

“The Americans are so strong in singles but we were 12 strong. Everyone contributed. I just love these guys – you need your superstars to show up and they did.

“I’ve put everything into it and I’m just so glad they were able to win.”

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It stretches Europe’s unbeaten home record beyond 30 years and also means the past five Ryder Cups have been won by the home side.

US captain Zach Johnson said: “Europe and Luke played great and earned it” before shouldering the blame for their defeat, conceding he had “made some poor decisions”.

“It’s quite simple, we got outplayed,” he added. “We showed grit and heart, it got interesting out there. It ebbed and flowed, it had momentum. I’m proud of my guys.”

Donald’s mantra all week was about getting off to a “fast start” and his players had delivered on Friday and Saturday, winning both morning sessions 4-0 and 3-1 as Europe built a 10½-5½ lead to take into Sunday.

And the Englishman, who won all four Ryder Cups he contested as a player, stacked the top singles matches with his best players.

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The plan seemed to be working with European blue flooding the scoreboards as they led in five of the top six matches to the delight of most of the estimated 55,000 fans at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.

World number four Viktor Hovland delivered the first point, racing three up after six against Collin Morikawa before sealing a 4&3 win.,

But it was the top match that was providing all the drama.

World number three Jon Rahm was taking on top-ranked American Scottie Scheffler in a heavyweight contest that was the Ryder Cup in microcosm, ebbing and flowing as the momentum switched between the pair.

Rahm was two ahead after five, then Scheffler punched back with three birdies in the next six holes to sneak one ahead after 11.

The intensity increased as Rahm birdied the next two to retake the lead; Scheffler retaliated with successive birdies of his own to claim the next two.

But the American was unable to deliver the knockout blow, missing from 15 feet to win the match on the 17th.

And when Rahm cosied a putt from about 60 feet to six inches on the last, it proved enough to win a half point, put Europe 12-6 ahead and ensure he finished unbeaten with three points from four matches.

World number two Rory McIlroy and Englishman Tyrrell Hatton added two more points with the Northern Irishman finishing as Europe’s top points scorer on four from five matches, while Hatton finished with three and a half points.

Neither player was behind as they saw off Sam Burns and Open champion Brian Harman respectively to take Europe to 14 points and on the brink of regaining the trophy they lost so heavily at Whistling Straits in 2021.

But the search for the vital half point had even Donald scratching his head.

“We kept looking at the board and thinking, where will we find 14 and a half points?” he said.

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Patrick Cantlay, whose caddie Joe LaCava had been at the centre of an ugly confrontation with McIlroy at the end of Saturday’s fourballs, put the first red point on the board, holding off a Justin Rose fightback before holing a winning birdie putt on the 17th.

And the US team rattled off the next three points, with five-time major champion Brooks Koepka seeing off rookie Ludvig Aberg 3&2, moments before Max Homa beat Matt Fitzpatrick on the last, while Xander Schauffele defeated Nicolai Hojgaard 3&2.

Despite losing, England’s Fitzpatrick had a putt to secure the missing half point at 15:28 BST. Thirty minutes later though, the cup was all but secured when Fleetwood went two up with two to play against Rickie Fowler.

And Fleetwood sealed his point on the 17th to spark scenes of jubilation across the course as fans flooded down the 18th to join the celebrations.

Behind him, Scotland’s Bob MacIntyre was the safety net. He never trailed US Open champion Wyndham Clark and also won on the 17th to record point number 16 as he finished his first Ryder Cup unbeaten with two and a half points, while Lowry had thousands of fans for company as his match with Jordan Spieth went down the last.

The Irishman had battled back from three down after five and won the 17th with a par to go one up and guarantee another half point.

A Spieth birdie meant the match finished all square amid what Lowry called “carnage” as he and marshals tried to keep fans off the putting surface.

The half point meant the singles finished six points each and all thoughts now turn to Bethpage, in New York, for the 45th edition of the Ryder Cup in September 2025.

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