Europe Regain Ryder Cup After Holding Off US Fightback

Europe Regains Ryder Cup

Thomas Bjorn's men stay strong to win The Ryder Cup back for Europe - 17.5-10.5, with Francesco Molinari securing the winning point

Europe Regain Ryder Cup After Holding Off US Fightback To Run Out 17.5-10.5 Winners

The Ryder Cup is back in European hands after Thomas Bjorn's side survived a late afternoon rally from the Americans to come out 17.5-10.5 winners in Paris.

Molinari defeated a hapless Phil Mickelson 4&2 to secure the winning point and spark jubilant celebrations, a result that also gave him five points from five matches - an incredible end to the season for the Open champion.

Ryder Regain Ryder Cup

Francesco Molinari leads the celebrations as Europe regain The Ryder Cup [Getty Images]

The damage was done for the US over the first two days, when they struggled to find fairways, handing hole after hole to the Europeans - and Bjorn's men were able to hold off a spirited final-day fightback.

Friday afternoon's clean sweep was Europe's first ever in foursomes, and it stunned the visiting team, as Europe took a 5-3 lead. That advantage was stretched on Saturday as some inspired partnerships, most notably Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, kept the US under the pump.

Heading into Sunday, Europe led 10-6, and it wasn't long before the board started turning blue, one of the few exceptions being Fleetwood, who fell five down to Tony Finau at the turn, and looked tired after his heroics over the first two days.

But as the top match reached a tense finale, and Dustin Johnson edged ahead against Ian Poulter, the scoreboard started to turn red - and Bjorn began to look a little concerned.

That worry intensified not long later when Rory McIlroy, heading down the final hole all square with Justin Thomas, found the bunker with his tee shot and water with his second when trying to lay up. A handshake followed and gave the US the first singles point, which closed the gap to 10-7.

Justin Thomas was up for the fight in his tense match with Rory McIlroy [Getty Images]

Tiger Woods continued to look out of sorts for much of his encounter with Jon Rahm, until a eagle-three on the par-5 9th clawed a hole back, and a birdie on 12 levelled the match.

However, the fist-pumps, missing from the first two days, were short-lived when the Spaniard re-established a two-hole advantage after Woods missed from close range for bogey at the par-5 14th.

One minute the American comeback was on, the next it was scuppered, with Paul Casey earning a huge half in match two against US Open champion Brooks Koepka, narrowly missing a putt for the win at what was becoming a louder 18th with every minute.

Paul Casey's half came at just the right time as America began to rally [Getty Images]

Expand Where Is The Ryder Cup In 2022?

Where Is The Ryder Cup In 2022

Where Is The Ryder Cup In 2022?

Where will the Ryder Cup be held once…

Elsewhere, rookie Thorbjørn Olesen, one of only two players not to secure a point for Europe heading into the singles, was busy disposing of three-time Major winner, Jordan Spieth, surging into a four-hole lead after just eight holes.

Up ahead, though, Justin Rose went down 3&2 to an impressive Webb Simpson, and Finau denied Fleetwood five wins from five when he finished their match on the 14th for a comprehensive 6&4 victory.

It brought the US side to within half a point, and all eyes turned to the later matches, many of which were nip-and-tuck affairs.

Bjorn needn't have worried with Poulter starting to take control of world number one, Johnson, who, after splitting the fairway at 15, dunked his approach into the water to gift the hole to the Englishman.

When Olesen wrapped up a fine 5&4 win over world number ten Spieth, and Rahm saw off Woods with a timely birdie on the difficult 17th for a 2&1 win, the game was virtually up for the US.

However, this being The Ryder Cup, Johnson atoned for his mess on 15 with a 50-footer for birdie on the 16th, forcing Poulter to regroup. It only delayed the celebrations, especially with Sergio Garcia, Molinari and Henrik Stenson all on top in their matches.

Predictably, Poulter held his nerve for a 2UP win, shortly before Molinari claimed the point that regained The Ryder Cup for Europe.

It was then a question of how damaging the scoreline would become for the US, as Garcia beat Rickie Fowler 2&1 to pass Nick Faldo and become Europe's leading Ryder Cup points scorer.

Europe Regain Ryder Cup

Sergio Garcia en route to his own personal record as Europe Regain The Ryder Cup

Patrick Reed added a point to America's tally with a 3&2 win over Tyrrell Hatton, but Stenson put another point on the board for Europe with a 5&4 victory over Bubba Watson.

It left one match on the course, but it wasn't long before the crowd could enjoy one last huge roar, as Alex Noren holed a monster putt on the 18th to defeat a dejected Bryson DeChambeau.

Whilst Bjorn will look back on the contest with fondness, opposite number, Furyk will ponder where it all went wrong. A number of his senior players were unable to inspire his side, with Woods and Mickelson ending the week pointless.

Next up and it's Whistling Straits in 2020.

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.