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Page last updated at 21:55 GMT, Sunday, 3 October 2010 22:55 UK

Europe reign after the storm

38th RYDER CUP
Venue: Celtic Manor, Newport Date: 1-4 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live & online, live text commentary online & daily highlights on BBC TWO. Live on Sky Sports 1

Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn and Colin Montgomerie
Europe captain Colin Montgomerie (right) was all smiles after Sunday's results

By Peter Shuttleworth
BBC Sport Wales at Celtic Manor

After the storm, came Europe's reign.

And how apt that after all the water that has fallen on the Celtic Manor this weekend, that the scoreboard is awash with blue heading into the first Monday in Ryder Cup history.

The Welsh Ryder Cup slogan was "golf as it should be". And after the match rescheduling due to 12 hours of lost play overall, some argued this was "the Ryder Cup, but not as it should be".

Then Mother Nature plugged the rain and the golfing stars shone in "one of the best days in Europe's history" as a "phenomenal" afternoon of golf washed away frustrations of moaning in the morning rain.

Wales has suffered the relentless wrath of the elements just when they wanted to promote their sunny side during their window to the 620 million households around the world eyeing up this area of south Wales.

But as Wales wanted to portray a warm welcome in the hillsides to boost tourism and entice business, the world will remember a reception where the roof leaked and the bunting blew away.

And the first Ryder Cup staged at a purpose-built course will unfortunately be remembered as the first to need a fourth day because of a sodden course.

Wales' hugely-anticipated first Ryder Cup was nine years in the planning and more than £50m was spent between the Celtic Manor and the Welsh Assembly Government on improving the course, infrastructure and creating a golfing and economic legacy.

But no matter how many millions are spent on such a monumental event, one barometer for success is the priceless and fortunate commodity of clear skies.

606: DEBATE
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The Celtic Manor was accused of distancing itself from Newport in the 2010 Ryder Cup build-up, as it advertised itself as Usk Valley and being an hour and a half from London.

With all this rain about, maybe Newport might consider distancing itself from the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Then the golf came - and of course Wales very much wants to play its part in such drama.

Wales may have run out of luck with the sun - as half a month of rain fell in 48 hours - but fortune, at least, shone on them when the finest swingers in town were unleashed during an epic 11 hours of play on Saturday.

The 24 players returned to the course after the rain had gone as Europe served up a Sunday best after a Saturday night dressing-down from captain Colin Montgomerie.

The United States, hoping to wrap up their first back-to-back Ryder Cup wins for 17 years, had begun day three 6-4 up but the momentum was Europe's as the hosts were leading in all six of the overnight matches.

And the only ones sinking in the Twenty Ten mud were the Americans as their number one pair of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods were demolished 6&5 by talisman Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, who extended his 100% record in Ryder Cup foursomes to six matches.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell won their first Ryder Cup match before the rippled turned into a wave of royal blue as the Europeans continued secured wire-to-wire victories in five of the six Sunday showdowns as the tables turned at Celtic Manor.

The Twenty Ten course architects designed the final three holes almost specifically for this showpiece to test tired bodies and tired minds - but Ross Fisher's superb birdie on the par three 17th was matchplay at its best.

Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy
Northern Ireland pair McDowell and McIlroy formed a potent combination

And it was somehow appropriate that with all this water about, it was a Fisher that sang in the rain.

The Englishman holed six birdies to ease him and Padraig Harrington to a 3&2 win, while world number two Phil Mickelson's pointless Ryder Cup visit to Wales continued as five Ian Poulter birdies ensured he and Martin Kaymer also celebrated on the 17th green.

Miguel Angel Jimenez's awesome recovery from the sand trap at the sweet 16th nudged him towards a first full Ryder Cup point in eight matches since 2004 - finished off beautifully at the signature 18th with a textbook birdie.

But the laugh on the last was left to the Molinari brothers who held their nerve to secure a half point from the jaws of defeat as Francesco cleared the water feature protecting the green to land the ball within inches of the hole.

The Italian job blew away any lingering disgruntlement about the bad weather as thoughts turned to how to convince the boss on how to get Monday off work.

"To get five-and-a-half points is phenomenal," said Harrington.

"It is probably the Sunday we all dreamed about at the start of the week. Unfortunately there's Monday."

Europe's nine-and-a-half to six-and-a-half overnight lead is cause for optimism for Montgomerie.

Now he hopes his European water rats like Mondays.



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see also
Ryder Cup 2010: Sunday photos
03 Oct 10 |  Golf
Europe launch Ryder Cup fightback
02 Oct 10 |  Golf
The true beauty of Celtic Manor
02 Oct 10 |  Golf
US edge rain-affected first day
01 Oct 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup A-Z
28 Sep 10 |  Golf


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