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Europe 14 1/2 - 9 1/2 USA: Europe retain Ryder Cup

Europe have retained the Ryder Cup after the USA conceded defeat at Gleneagles.

World number one Rory McIlroy led by example as Europe won the 40th Ryder Cup after being given an early scare at Gleneagles.

The home side were overwhelming favourites with a 10-6 overnight lead, but saw Graeme McDowell three down after five to Jordan Spieth in the opening match and the unbeaten Justin Rose four down after six to Hunter Mahan.

At one point the United States were ahead in six early matches but McIlroy was an approximate eight under par in thrashing Rickie Fowler 5&4 to put the first European point on the board and fellow Northern Irishman McDowell won five out of six holes from the 10th to complete a remarkable 2&1 victory.

American rookie Patrick Reed reduced the deficit by beating Henrik Stenson on the 18th, but US Open champion Martin Kaymer chipped in for an eagle on the 16th to complete a comfortable win over Bubba Watson and make the score 13-7.

Victories for Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar over Stephen Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn respectively kept the contest alive before Rose claimed an unlikely half against Mahan thanks to eight birdies from the seventh, the last of which was conceded after Mahan made a hash of the 18th.

That put the home side one point away from outright victory - an eighth in the last 10 contests - and the honour of sealing it fell to Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who was already four up with four to play when he hit his approach to the 15th to within inches of the hole to beat Keegan Bradley.

"I hit the wedge shot of my life to close the game out. I can't really put words to it. It is unbelievable," Donaldson told Sky Sports.

"I knew it was getting tight there at the end and everyone was building on my group. I just tried not to spend too much time looking at the scoreboard.

"I was able to do it well enough to close it out.

"The lads have got on so well all week. There has been a great craic in there, it is an incredible week. It is hard to describe how good it is - there is nothing else like it in golf.

"It has been amazing to be a part of it."

On victorious captain Paul McGinley, he added: "He's been sensational, incredible. It's been a hell of a week."

McGinley paid tribute not only to his players, but everyone who had contributed to the win,

"It has been a real honour to captain these 12 players, our backroom team, it has been a huge team effort," he said.

"We had three or four big ideas which we kept feeding back to and they came off.

"I have a great sense of pride giving happiness to everyone."

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