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Ryder Cup: Europe victorious as Americans roar back in thrilling finish

Ryder Cup play doesn't get much more exciting as the Americans won seven singles matches on Monday. The competition came down to the 17th hole in the final match before Europe could reclaim the Ryder Cup.

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European Ryder Cup player Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland reacts on the 17th green Monday after the European team won the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales October 4.

Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

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In an exciting finish that came down to the last pairing, Europe needed every bit of its three-point lead in the 38th Ryder Cup, going into the singles matches Monday against the US.

After Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson roared out to early leads in their respective matches, the Europeans steadied the ship and squeezed past the US, 14 1/2-13 1/2 to capture the trophy.

Despite wins by the world's No. 1 and No. 2 players, the US still needed points from its younger guns. One of those was Ryder Cup rookie Rickie Fowler, who came from four down to halve his match with Italy's Edoardo Molinari. Fowler's play bodes well for future Ryder Cup matches. Then, former Masters champ Zach Johnson beat former British and PGA champ Padraig Harrington, 3 and 2.

Europe and the US were tied at 13 1/2 points when current US Open champ Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Hunter Mahan came to the 16th hole. Down one, Mahan put his tee shot in the rough, while McDowell found the fairway. Mahan could only chip out. McDowell hit the green in regulation. He then rolled in a clutch 15-foot birdie putt to extend his lead.

Then, on the par-three 17th, Mahan came up short on his tee shot. With McDowell just off the green, Mahan mishit his chip shot, then could not make his par putt, giving the match to McDowell and the Ryder Cup back to Europe.

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