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Ryder Cup win even sweeter than maiden major for Europe's history-making hero

Francesco Molinari became the first European player to win all five of his matches at a Ryder Cup.

Francesco Molinari celebrates after defeating Phil Mickelson on the 16th to win the Ryder Cup Francesco Molinari Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

FRANCESCO MOLINARI FINISHED off a memorable weekend by becoming the first European player to win all five of his matches at a Ryder Cup on Sunday.

The Open champion eased to a 4&2 victory over an out-of-sorts Phil Mickelson to secure the hosts the trophy at Le Golf National with a dominant performance.

After Ian Poulter’s dramatic 2-up win against world number one Dustin Johnson, Molinari ensured a crushing triumph for Europe. The Italian and Tommy Fleetwood had become the first European pairing to win four matches from four on Saturday.

English rookie Fleetwood was beaten by Tony Finau in Sunday’s singles, but Molinari took his chance to make history against the erratic Mickelson.

“I just try to do things, be professional and obviously I had an amazing partner in Tommy,” he said. “I never felt like I had a rookie playing alongside me. It’s been amazing.”

Molinari is the first player from either side to claim five points at a Ryder Cup since the USA’s Larry Nelson in 1979.

Thomas Bjorn’s men gained revenge for their defeat at Hazeltine two years ago, sending the United States to a sixth straight loss on European soil dating back to 1993.

Team Europe celebrate winning the Ryder Cup The victorious European team. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Molinari, who has enjoyed a remarkable season, said that winning the Ryder Cup back meant more than anything else, including his maiden major title at Carnoustie in July.

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“So much. So much more than majors. More than anything,” he added. “You know, it’s hard not to get emotional when you think about the other players, the vice captains, Thomas [Bjorn], the wives. It’s been an incredible week.”

The 35-year-old had never won a full point from his two previous Ryder Cup appearances in 2010 and 2012, but he has now been part of three winning teams, and he said this was the best outfit of the lot.

“I’ve been part of another two winning teams where I didn’t bring full points, and I’m glad after I’ve been carried on the shoulders by some of these guys to give something back,” he said.

“But it’s about every one of these guys, the vice-captains, it’s just the best team I’ve ever been part of by miles.”

© – AFP, 2018

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