PGA Tour
Europe wins third straight Ryder Cup



Perthshire, Scotland (SportsNetwork.com) - Jamie Donaldson finished what Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell started on Sunday as the Europeans won their third straight Ryder Cup by a 16 1/2 - 11 1/2 margin.

Armed with a 4-up lead with four holes to go, Donaldson stuffed his approach shot at 15 to a foot. Keegan Bradley conceded the birdie and the 4 & 3 win to Donaldson. That moved the Europeans to 14 1/2 points, enough for them to win the coveted trophy yet again.

"Yeah, 7-1 was a huge result out of the two foursomes sessions. If you look historically over the past few years, the Americans have been stronger than us in foursomes, so this was a one off," said European captain Paul McGinley. "It really did, it worked incredibly well for us. There's no special secret for it, it was just one of those things that happened."

World No. 1 McIlroy was 7-under par through 14 holes at Gleneagles as he cruised to a 5 & 4 win over Rickie Fowler.

"We've had a lot of great leaders that have led our team the last few Ryder Cups. (Colin) Montgomerie in 2010, Jose Maria (Olazabal) last time at Medinah and obviously Paul here. I can't say enough about Paul and his captaincy and how good it's been," McIlroy stated. "I'm delighted that everything worked out so well for him."

McDowell was 3-down after five holes against Jordan Spieth, then won five of six holes from the 10th en route to a 2 & 1 win.

The two Northern Irishmen earned the first two points for the Europeans, then Patrick Reed got the Americans on the board with a 1-up win over Henrik Stenson.

U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer beat Bubba Watson, 4 & 2, to put Europe on the brink of victory.

Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar won their matches over Scotland's Steven Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn, respectively, to trim the American deficit to 13-9.

Then last year's U.S. Open champ Justin Rose battled to a halve with Hunter Mahan to move the Europeans within a half-point of keeping the Cup.

Donaldson and Bradley, who were in the 10th match out, halved No. 14 meaning Europe had at least retained the Cup. Donaldson, who was unaware that his half at 14 guaranteed the Europeans the requisite 14 points to keep the Cup, clinched the Ryder Cup one hole later with his stellar second shot.

After Bradley drained a birdie at the eighth to trim his deficit to 1-down, Donaldson birdied three of four holes from the ninth to push his lead to 4-up.

At 14, Bradley hit a poor chip from left of the green and lagged his birdie try to tap-in range. Donaldson chipped from over the green to nine feet. If that putt fell, the match was over, but he missed.

Donaldson nearly holed his second at 15 and that gave the Cup back to Europe.

"It's so hard to play your way into the team. I played well for a year, but it took the event before the last one to get in," said Donaldson of his win at the Czech Masters that sealed his spot on the team. "Obviously it came down to me to close it out, which is fantastic, but it's all about the team. The guys have gone so well this week and everybody has played really well. They played their heart out to retain the Ryder Cup, at the end of the day, that's what its all about."

Europe ended up winning the singles matches 6 1/2 - 5 1/2, but the foursomes play over the first two days, is where this Ryder Cup was won.

"The real difference was the foursome play. The combined score in foursomes for our team was really, really high compared to theirs. That was the biggest difference in the play this week," explained U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson. "We gave them a shot here in the singles. We made them think about us early in the singles, but they turned it on. But the foursome play separated the two teams."

McIlroy, the Open Champion and PGA Championship winner, played like the No. 1 player in the world. He was 6-under par through six holes with four birdies and an eagle, and was 5-up. Fowler got one back at seven. McIlroy took the 13th and a par at 14 gave the Europeans their first point of the day.

Spieth flew out of the gate with three wins in the first five holes, just one of which was with a birdie. But, he didn't win another hole.

After four halves in a row, McDowell won five of six holes from the 10th with three pars and two birdies. Spieth left a birdie putt short at 16 and McDowell claimed the match with an up-and-down par at 17.

"We talked about it in the team room last night, it doesn't matter if your 4- up or 4-down, try to win the next hole. Try to send a signal to your teammates from the crowd that something good is happening up in front," said McDowell. "That's what drove me on, I just tried to win the next hole."

Reed and Stenson each won two holes on the front nine. Around the turn, Reed looked to grab control as he took 11 and 12, but Stenson won the 14th with a par and was conceded birdie at 15 to square the match. Reed 2-putted for birdie at 18 and Stenson missed from inside six feet to give the Americans their first point.

"I just tried to play golf. Being my first time in the Ryder Cup, I leaned a lot on the Mickelsons and the Furyks, the guys that have been out here for a while and played multiple Ryder Cups," Reed stated. "I went by what they said and enjoyed the day."

In a battle of two of this year's major champions, it was all Kaymer. He won four in a row from the third to go 4-up. Watson, the Masters winner, birdied seven to earn his first win, but Kaymer was conceded the eighth. After Watson took 15, Kaymer chipped in for eagle at 16 to seal the match.

Kuchar won four of six holes from the 10th. Bjorn got one back at 11, but Kuchar won the 15th to claim the match.

Moments later, Mickelson wrapped up his win. He and Gallacher split three wins each over the first 11 holes. After three halves in a row from 12, Mickelson made three birdies in a row from 15, all from inside seven feet, to win the match and make it 13-9 Europe.

"I thought the European team played some incredible golf and just beat us," Mickelson said. "We had a great formula in '08 and I don't know why we strayed from it. I don't know why we don't ever try going back to it."

Mahan led 15 of the 17 holes, and was 4-up after six. Rose birdied four in a row to square the match at 11. They traded wins before Mahan birdied 14 to go 1-up. Mahan was left of the 18th in two, but hit a poor chip. After he failed to save par, he conceded Rose's birdie try and the match was halved.

"I think today took a lot out of me being 4-down. Hunter played absolutely awesome today and it took pretty much me digging as deep as I could to find a run in the middle of the round, which I did to square things up," Rose stated.

Donaldson won the 15th hole and the match.

Sergio Garcia and Furyk were tight throughout their match. Garcia birdied 15 and eagled 16 to go 1-up. They halved the last two holes to give the Spaniard the match.

Ian Poulter lost a 2-up lead against Webb Simpson, but birdied the 18th to claim a 1-up victory over the 2012 U.S. Open winner.

Jimmy Walker finished a solid first Ryder Cup with a 3 & 2 win over Lee Westwood. Walker led throughout and Westwood won just one hole.

Zach Johnson birdied the 18th hole to halve the final match against Victor Dubuisson.

NOTES: The Europeans have won three Ryder Cups in a row, six of the last eight and eight of the last 10 ... For the week, the Europeans had just three players with losing records, while the Americans had seven ... Furyk became the first American to have 20 losses at the Ryder Cup ... The 2016 Ryder Cup will take place at Whistling Straits in Chaska, Minn.

09/28 14:47:26 ET