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Ryder Cup 2018: Francesco Molinari clinches for Europe

By
Alex Butler
Tommy Fleetwood celebrates after Team Europe clinches the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Guyancourt near Paris on September 30, 2018. Team Europe defeated Team USA 17.5 to 10.5 to hand the Americans their sixth straight loss on foreign soil. Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Tommy Fleetwood celebrates after Team Europe clinches the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Guyancourt near Paris on September 30, 2018. Team Europe defeated Team USA 17.5 to 10.5 to hand the Americans their sixth straight loss on foreign soil. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Red-hot Francesco Molinari carded the winning point, clinching the 2018 Ryder Cup for the Europeans against the USA on Saturday at Le Golf National near Paris.

"This team has been incredible from the start," Molinari told the Golf Channel. "We were determined to do the job. Nothing was going to stop us. You saw it on the course."

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Europe entered the day just 4.5 points shy of clinching the cup, which the Americans won in 2016. The Europeans have now claimed the Ryder Cup in four of the last five tournaments.

Molinari picked up the final point on the 16th hole. He sent his tee shot onto the green on the 163-yard Par-3. Phil Mickelson followed that shot by sending his tee shot into the water, handing the win to Molinari and the Europeans.

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"It's hard to describe," Molinari said. "I'm just so proud of everyone on the team. It's an amazing group of guys. Anyone of us would have deserved the clinch the winning point."

The Americans began the day on top, with Justin Thomas finishing 1-up on Rory McIlroy. Paul Casey and Brooks Koepka halved in Match 2 before Webb Simpson beat Justin Rose 3-and-2 in Match 3.

Team USA pushed the score to 10.5 to 9.5 but weren't able to fully close the gap from the first two days of the tournament.

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"I would have loved to have won my match obviously, but look at the score on the board there," McIlroy. "We've done more that enough to regain the trophy. The one thing that I'm really happy about is that we've run the Ryder Cup, but all 12 of our players have contributed a point, which I think is really important."

Jon Rahm beat Tiger Woods 2-and-1 in Match 4, pushing Woods' record to 0-4 at the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Tony Finau claimed another point for the Americans, beating Tommy Fleetwood 6-and-4, before the Europeans got hot.

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Ian Poulter beat Dustin Johnson 2-up. Thorbjorn Olesen beat Jordan Spieth 5-and-4 and Sergio Garcia beat Rickie Fowler 2-and-1. Garcia became Europe's all-time leading Ryder Cup points getter with the victory.

Then came Molinari, who rushed past Mickelson 4-and-2, clinching the win for the Europeans. Patrick Reed ended up beating Tyrrell Hatton 3-and-2. Henrik Stenson beat Bubba Watson 5-and-4. Alex Noren was still finishing out his round with Bryson DeChambeau after the Europeans clinched the victory.

"I think at the end of the day, I tip my cap to the European side," USA captain Jim Furyk said. "They played great golf. What's the difference? I saw putts going in. I saw great golf shots. My team fought hard. I'm really proud of them."

"You say that Thomas did a better job than I did. Their team played great. There isn't much more I can say."

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