Northern Ireland

McDowell key man in Europe Ryder Cup win

Graeme McDowell
Image caption Graeme McDowell was surrounded by teammates and spectators as Europe won back the trophy

Graeme McDowell ensured Europe regained the Ryder Cup by winning the crucial last singles match at Celtic Manor.

The US Open winner prevailed 2 and 1 against Hunter Mahan and helped Europe to the 14 and a half points they needed to win back the trophy.

In a day of fluctuating fortunes, all eyes turned to the Portrush man with Europe depending on his win.

And McDowell held his nerve to fend off Mahan's challenge and ensure the trophy returned across the Atlantic.

The Northern Irishman made a magnificent birdie under pressure at the 16th before sealing victory at the 17th.

Speaking just after his win, he said: "Wow - I haven't had a second even to think about it, that was bananas - that was absolutely amazing.

"The putt on 16 was stuff I have dreamed about all my life. This is the Ryder Cup - I love this golf tournament, it's something extremely special."

Victorious Europe captain Colin Montgomerie heaped praise on McDowell.

"Graeme was put there [at the end] for a very good reason.

"He is the US Open champion and full of confidence and that birdie on 16 was quite unbelievable."

McDowell slipped to 1up with three to play after driving into heavy rough left of the green and duffing his chip shot.

However he then recovered brilliantly with a memorable putt to seal the birdie on the 16th.

Mahan could not respond on the next hole, sparking wild celebrations among the European team and the majority of the 35,000 fans.

McDowell was not the only Northern Irishman with a role in the European success.

The youngest member of the team, Holywood's Rory McIlroy, secured one and a half points as McDowell's playing partner earlier in the week and a half point against American Stewart Cink on the dramatic last day.

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