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Published: 08:24 | 3/10/16

US regain the Ryder Cup

The United States have regained the Ryder Cup after a 17-11 victory over Darren Clarke's Europe at Hazeltine.

Europe trailed the hosts by three points heading into Sunday's 12 singles matches and they managed to win three of the first five matches to give themselves a chance of claiming a fourth straight win in the competition.

However, wins for Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore saw the Americans surpass the 14.5 points required for victory and they went on to secure a 17-11 win, the biggest winning margin for the US since the 1981 Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed played out a thriller in the opening match with American prevailing on the 18th hole.

McIlory drew first blood for Europe when he birdied the third hole, followed by another birdie on the fifth, only for Reed to hit back with an eagle on the fifth, to level it up.

In a highly-charged encounter, they made eight birdies and an eagle between them to reach the turn all square before brilliant up-and-downs from Reed on the 12th and the 16th put the American two up with two to play. McIlroy managed to win the 17th to take it to the 18th but it was Reed who sealed the point to move the United States ever-closer to the win.

Just a few minutes earlier Open champion Henrik Stenson had got the first point on the board when he defeated Jordan Spieth 3&2 with rookie Thomas Pieters adding another point with a 3&2 win over JB Holmes.

Rafa Cabrera Bello's defeat of Jimmy Walker by the same score brought Europe to within a point of their opponents but Justin Rose lost to Fowler on the last and just a few minutes later Masters champion Danny Willett's afternoon was brought to an end by Koepka, who completed a 5&4 win.

Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson produced a match to remember, making 19 birdies between them, and it was fitting that they shared the spoils to leave the United States needing just one point for the victory.

That was down to a half when Snedeker overcame Andy Sullivan 2up and Moore sealed the win when he parred the last to defeat Lee Westwood.

"I couldn't be more proud of the guys that I'm surrounded with. They did everything I asked of them. They tried their heart out. They worked hard. They fought hard," Clarke said.

"The bottom line is that Davis' team holed a few more putts than we did and they played better. So when it comes to it, the American Ryder Cup Team deserved to win this Ryder Cup and we're all gutted and disappointed.

"We will be back stronger to fight in two years' time in Paris.

"We couldn't have done anything more. I've had a wonderful group of vice captains behind me helping me every step of the way.

"The whole concept this week has been that we're here as one team, one unit and we've all made our decisions together.

"This just doesn't happen overnight. There's a year and a half of planning going into it and the whole backroom team and the support that I've had from the European Tour has been fantastic."

Paying tribute to his team, US captain Davis Love III said: "We have been criticised for eight to 10 years for not coming together. Phil Mickelson, Bubba (Watson), everyone who played on the team and who didn't play on the team showed we all had a heart and could pull together.

"2012 was a great team and we played our hearts out but this is a different 12 and I am super proud of them. We all pulled together for this one.

"We've been kicked around for so long and you keep losing so you feel you have to do something different.

"There was a bit of rebuilding to do and a little bit of a shift in attitude. We are not going to win every one but we are going to go into them with a better attitude."

Conor McGregor will fight Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt at UFC 205 in New York on November 12 live on the eir Sport pack. The eir Sport pack is free to all eir broadband customers. To learn more about setting sport free visit www.eir.ie/sport .

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