Gleneagles (UK): World No 1 Rory McIlroy led by example as Europe won the 40th Ryder Cup after being given an early scare at Gleneagles.
On top of the world: Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates victory on the 14th hole during the Singles Matches of the Ryder Cup in Auchterarder, Scotland yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The hosts were favourites with a 10-6 overnight lead, but saw Graeme McDowell three down after five to Jordan Spieth in the opening match and the unbeaten Justin Rose four down after six to Hunter Mahan.
At one point the United States were ahead in six early matches but McIlroy was an approximate eight under par in thrashing Rickie Fowler 5&4 to put the first European point on the board and fellow Northern Irishman McDowell won five out of six holes from the 10th to complete a remarkable 2&1 victory.
American rookie Patrick Reed reduced the deficit by beating Henrik Stenson on the 18th, but US Open champion Martin Kaymer chipped in for an eagle on the 16th to complete a comfortable win over Bubba Watson and make the score 13-7.
Victories for Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar over Stephen Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn respectively kept the contest alive before Rose claimed an unlikely half against Mahan.
That put the home side one point away from outright victory, and the honour of sealing it fell to Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who was already four up with four to play when he hit his approach to the 15th to within inches of the hole to beat Keegan Bradley.