Ireland’s Graeme McDowell the hero as Europe wins the Ryder Cup
Graeme McDowell won over Hunter Mahan (2 and 1) at Celtic Manor sealing the European's victory at the Ryder Cup tournament winning them the 14½ points needed for the trophy.
The American's had been behind by three points but had rallied making the 12th match the decider. McDowell made a clutch birdie putt at the 16th hole and was conceded his par putt at the 17th.
American, Rickie Fowler, pulled off an improbable comeback winning the final three holes to half his match with Edoardo Molinari. He rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th and made an 18-footer at the final hole.
Zach Johnson finished off a 3-and-2 win over Padraig Harrington which evened the score at 13½.
This meant that everything relied on McDowell's performance and he did not disappoint. He was up three with seven holes left and then made a bogey on the 12th and an errant tee shot at on the 15th, a short par-4 handed Mahan another hole.
All Mahan had to do was tie the match which would have meant the trophy would have stayed with the Americans. Then at the 16th McDowell rolled a downhill putt from 15 feet for a birdie. Mahan then made a mess of the 17th hole and their fate was sealed.
This victory for McDowell comes just four months after he won the U.S. Open. He was the first European to win the competition since 1970 and joined Padraig Harrington as the first Irishmen to ever win a modern era major championship.
The 30-year-old, Portrush, Northern Ireland man is known for his laid-back and relaxed character. Like many junior Irish golfer took a golf scholarship to the University of Alabama in Birmingham from 1998 to 2002. There he won the Haskins Award for the Most Outstanding Collegiate Golfer in the United States.
In 2001 he took part in the Walker Cup at Sea Island, Georgia where the Great Britain and Ireland team retained the cup. In 2002 he turned professional and won the Volvo Scandinavian Masters. In 2004 he won the Telecom Italia Open and finished sixth in the European Tour Order of Merit.
Although not a full member of the PGA Tour by 2005 he was ranked as one of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings and divided his time between European and PGA Tours. He managed two top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour including a tie for second place at the Bay Hill Invitational.
In 2006 he failed to finish in the top-150 in the 2006 PGA Tour money list and decided to return to the European Tour in 2007. He won first the Ballantine's Championship in Korea and then the Barclays Scottish Open and played in the 2008 Ryder Cup, earning 2.5 points for the European team and finished the season ranked fifth on the Order of Merit.
McDowell won the Celtic Manor Wales Open by three shots in June 2010.
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