Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed the winning moment as Europe regained the Ryder Cup from a battling United States on Sunday, wrapping up a 16.5-11.5 victory despite a blistering American singles charge.
The USA remain without a win on European soil since 1993 while neither team have lifted the trophy away from home in 11 years.
With Europe needing half a point to get over the line, Fleetwood moved 2-up against Rickie Fowler with two holes to play after the American dumped his tee shot on the short par-four 16th into the water.
Fleetwood struck his drive into the heart of the green and calmy stroked his eagle putt to the holeside to ensure Europe a seventh consecutive home victory, before going on to win 3 and 1.
“I think relief, pride, joy,” said the Englishman. “Proud of everybody that’s been involved this week and just proud that I’m one of the people that gets to play a role in what we came here to do.”
US captain Zach Johnson took responsibility for the loss.
“The defeat is on me, I made some poor decisions and I will reflect. Those 12 guys played so hard and fought for our country,” he said.
Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland led the way with early victories in the Rome sunshine and Jon Rahm also snatched half a point from Scottie Scheffler on the 18th green.
Luke Donald’s Europe started the day four points from lifting the trophy they lost in a record-breaking 19-9 thrashing at Whistling Straits two years ago.
“It was stressful as the US put up a fight today so hats off to them. But I am so proud of my 12 guys. We formed a bond from day one and they gave me everything,” said Donald.
Europe raced out of the blocks in the Rome sunshine before the USA enjoyed a surge to quieten the huge home crowds, at one point leading in seven matches and tied in the other.
But Europe gathered themselves and ended up halving the singles session 6-6.
The Americans were attempting to pull off the biggest Sunday Ryder Cup comeback, having trailed 10.5-5.5 at the start of the day.
But they never recovered from being swept 4-0 in the opening foursomes on Friday, squashing American hopes that their crushing win in 2021 was the start of a period of dominance.
There were jubilant scenes on the 18th green as the final match on the course between Shane Lowry and Jordan Spieth, which was halved, came to an end, with the Irishman hugging several teammates on his way down the fairway.
Europe’s big guns fire
Rahm grabbed a crucial half-point from a thrilling opening tussle with Scheffler by making birdie on the par-five 18th hole after the world number one thinned a chip across the green.
Hovland had already romped to a 4 and 3 victory over Collin Morikawa to take his personal tally for the event to 3.5 points, the same as Rahm.
Patrick Cantlay — the pantomime villain after reports he was refusing to wearing a hat over wanting to be paid at the event before his caddie Joe LaCava angered McIlroy on Saturday — edged out Justin Rose 2 and 1.
Cantlay was roundly jeered on the first hole and mocked again for a reported protest against the lack of pay for Ryder Cup players, with fans waving their caps at him.
But he continued his good form from Saturday, when he made three straight birdies in his match with Wyndham Clark to beat McIlroy and Fitzpatrick, by handing Rose his first loss of the week.
McIlroy, who ends the week with four points to earn redemption after his struggles at Whistling Straits, closed out a 3 and 1 victory over Sam Burns despite a late rally from the American.
The Northern Irishman scotched reports LaCava had met him on Sunday morning to apologise after his win, saying: “I haven’t met Joe.”
Tyrrell Hatton overcame some nervy late moments to see off British Open champion Brian Harman on the 16th hole and put Europe on the cusp and 14-7 ahead.
Matthew Fitzpatrick missed a 19-foot birdie putt to win the Ryder Cup on the last hole as Max Homa kept the fate of the matchplay showdown just about in the balance.
Homa, who was the USA’s best player at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club with 3.5 points, bravely opted to take a penalty drop from the rough for an unplayable lie but made a clutch up and down for par.
Brooks Koepka saw off Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg 3 and 2 and Xander Schauffele beat Nicolai Hojgaard by the same scoreline to keep Europe waiting.
But Lowry calmed the nerves by pulling his match with Spieth to all-square on the 16th, clearing the way for Fleetwood to close it out moments later.
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