Gleneagles: Europe`s finest golfers captured the Ryder Cup for the sixth time in seven tries on Sunday at Gleneagles, delivering a resounding defeat to an American squad that once dominated the rivalry.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson, a 38-year-old Ryder Cup rookie, dropped his approach at the 15th hole just inches from the hole to clinch a 4 and 3 victory over Keegan Bradley that gave Europe an unbeatable total of 14 1/2 points.
"Hit a really good tee shot down 15 and hit the wedge of my life to close the game out," Donaldson said. "You can`t really put words to it. It`s unbelievable. It`s just an incredible week."
Europeans matched their longest win streak in the series with a third consecutive triumph while Tom Watson`s US squad failed in its bid for their first victory in Europe since Watson captained a 1993 triumph at The Belfry.
"Proud is the first word," European captain Paul McGinley said. "It has been a huge team effort."
Trailing 10-6 when Sunday`s 12 final singles matches began, the Americans needed the greatest rally ever on European soil to pull off a Stunner in Scotland.
Instead, Europe emerged with the trophy for the eighth time in 10 starts.
Early triumphs Sunday by European talisman Rory McIlroy and 2010 Cup-clincher Graeme McDowell, both of Northern Ireland, plus reigning US Open champion Martin Kaymer of Germany lifted the hosts closer to their goal.
A halved match by England`s unbeaten Justin Rose, who won three and halved two this week to lead all point producers, put Europe a half-point from keeping the trophy.
Attention then turned to Donaldson, who had birdied to win the ninth, 11th and 12th holes for a 4-up lead over Bradley, who sank a short putt to halve 13 and extend the suspense before Donaldson halved 14 and 15 to seal America`s fate.
"Really happy for JD to get the job done," McIlroy said. "He has been fantastic all week."
Americans lead the overall series 25-13 with two halved, but Europeans have a 10-7 with one halved edge since the team was expanded beyond British-Irish talent in 1979.
Europe built a four-point lead entering singles thanks to a 7-1 edge in foursomes matches, equalling the 1975 US squad for the format`s most lopsided domination.
"You killed us in the foursomes, man," Watson told McGinley.World number one McIlroy, coming off major wins at the British Open and PGA Championship, produced Europe`s first singles point by routing Rickie Fowler 5 and 4, a top-fiver in every major this year but winless in eight Cup matches.
"It would be nice to get a win one day soon," Fowler said.
McIlroy opened birdie-eagle-birdie for a 3-up lead, birdied the fifth and sixth to go 5-up, lost the seventh with a bogey but won 13 with a birdie and halved 14 to win.
"Very satisfying. I knew what was expected of me and what I expect of myself," McIlroy said. "I was probably more up for this day than I was the last day of the majors I won. There for no option other than to win."
McDowell followed by rallying from 3-down at the turn to beat US rookie Jordan Spieth 2 and 1 and finish 3-0 in the event, his first perfect Cup run.
Masters runner-up Spieth won three of the first five holes but McDowell began the back nine by winning four in a row, three on Spieth bogeys, to move 1-up. McDowell birdied to win 15 and closed out with an eight-foot par putt at the par-3 17th.
"I just got off to such a slow start," McDowell said. "I dug in. We halved eight and nine on birdies and I felt something turn inside me. I was happy to come out and get that big point."
Rookie Patrick Reed edged fifth-ranked Henrik Stenson 1-up for the day`s first US point, the Swede missing a short birdie putt at 18 to hand the American the victory. His 3 1/2 points are the most by a US rookie since 1979.
"It was a battle," Reed said. "We were making a lot of birdies."But Kaymer answered for Germany by chipping in for eagle to win the par-5 16th and complete a 4 and 2 victory over reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson.
"I played very well," Kaymer said. "To chip it in like this is amazing. It`s a big rush. You get the emotions you don`t usually get from players."
The Americans would not go quietly, Matt Kuchar beating Dane Thomas Bjorn 4 and 3 and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson beating Scotsman Stephen Gallacher 3 and 1.
But Hunter Mahan, 4-up after six holes, took bogey at the last to halve with Rose, who won four holes in a row starting at eight to battle back.
"He threw it all at me and I was able to respond," Rose said. "An honourable half."