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Ryder Cup: Six key moments in Europe's victory

After Europe retained the Ryder Cup with a degree of comfort, we take a look at six key moments from three days of absorbing action.

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Paul McGinley's side ultimately prevailed by 16 1/2 points to 11 1/2 points at Gleneagles, securing a third triumph in succession.

Spieth and Reed's Friday foursomes absence

One of the more surprising elements of the 40th Ryder Cup was the form of American rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who belied their relative inexperience to shine in Perthshire.

The youngest pair in Ryder Cup history with a combined age of 45, Reed and Spieth were put up against experienced campaigner Ian Poulter and home favourite Stephen Gallacher but were far from overawed as they won four holes on the outward nine.

Two more after the turn helped ensure a 5 and 4 win, although Watson opted to leave the pair out of the foursomes later that day - something he later acknowledged as a mistake.

Without Spieth and Reed, America failed to win a match in Friday's second session as Europe roared back to lead 5-3.

McIlroy and Garcia salvage a half

Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy were Europe's big-name pairing of Friday's fourballs but they come unstuck against Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.

With both the Spaniard and the world number one continuing to show inconsistent form, they were on course for a foursomes defeat against Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler - having gone 2down through 15.

However, the Northern Irishman's stunning 40-foot putt at 17 took Walker and Fowler to the last where Europe claimed another valuable birdie after Garcia found the par-five 18th green with a wonderful approach from the rough.

"We needed it, we really did," McIlroy explained before going on to win two of his three remaining matches.

Rose and Stenson make history

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were undoubtedly two of Europe's top performers and the pair were involved in a historic fourball match-up against Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar on Saturday.

The Americans certainly played their part in a record-breaking tussle that saw 21 birdies made in total, however, Rose and Stenson were on another level.

A record 12 birdies - including 10 in a row to finish - from the Europeans helped ensure a 3 and 2 success to put blue on the board during a session dominated by red.

Rose proves a thorn in USA's side... again

Rose seemingly revelled in the role of being the USA's tormentor-in-chief, as he denied Spieth and Reed a foursomes victory on Saturday even without Stenson.

Following an absorbing contest, Reed rolled in a stunning Spieth approach at the 17th to put the US one up and seemingly on course for what would have been the visitors' only win of the session.

However, Rose and Martin Kaymer had other ideas - as the German pitched to five feet and Rose did the rest to thwart the US in dramatic fashion.

McIlroy hits top gear as McDowell and Rose fight back

Coming into the final day, Europe were 10-6 up but still required a number of clutch performances to make sure of success.

McIlroy's Sunday best was certainly that. The Ulsterman displayed the form which has seen him take two majors this year to overrun Rickie Fowler, surging to a 5up lead through six and eventually securing the day's biggest victory margin - 5 and 4.

McDowell and Rose's contributions could not have been more contrasted to McIlroy's, but both came from behind - the Northern Irishman from three down through five and the Englishman producing a jaw-dropping approach at the 13th - to take a point and a half from Spieth and Hunter Mahan respectively.

Donaldson steals the limelight

The final glory belonged to Donaldson, as the rookie Welshman capped off a dream debut with a near-perfect approach that forced Bradley into a concession - sparking jubilant European scenes.

It may not have been able to match the dramatic finales at Brookline and Medinah in recent years, but McGinley and co are unlikely to care after winning the Ryder Cup with a mix of quality golf and fight.

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