Team Moliwood: How Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood set a European record
A review of the four wins for Europe's star Ryder Cup pairing at Le Golf National
Last Updated: 01/10/18 1:56pm
Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, or 'Moliwood' as they have been dubbed, became Europe's most successful partnership at a single Ryder Cup with their four victories together at Le Golf National.
Open champion Molinari and Fleetwood, last year's Race to Dubai winner, had been tipped to perform well together against the United States, but nobody could have expected them to make such a dramatic impact on the contest.
Italian Molinari, 35, had failed to win a match in his previous two Ryder Cup appearances, claiming two halves and suffering four defeats, while Englishman Fleetwood, 27, was making his Ryder Cup debut.
Only United States duo Larry Nelson and Lanny Wadkins had previously claimed two fourballs victories and two foursomes wins at the same Ryder Cup, at Greenbrier in 1979.
The previous best European performance was three-and-a-half points, which has been achieved on four occasions and twice by the legendary Spanish pairing of Seve Ballesteros and Jose-Maria Olazabal - in the tied match at The Belfry in 1989 and then two years later as Europe lost out by a point at Kiawah Island.
Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam were the first European duo to do so at Muirfield Village in 1987 and the last time it was done was in 1999 at Brookline by Sergio Garcia and Jesper Parnevik, but their efforts were in vain as the USA dominated the singles to snatch victory.
However, those four unbeaten European performances have been eclipsed by 'Moliwood' with their four jointly-earned points a major contributor to Europe's win in Paris.
Here's a look back at their four victories at Le Golf National….
Friday's fourballs: Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood beat Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed 3&1
Molinari and Fleetwood managed to stop the rot after Europe had lost the first three matches as they secured the first point for the hosts in the fourth and final match, producing a dominant performance on the back nine to come back from two down.
Molinari struck the first blow with a birdie at the first, but Woods hit back thanks to a fine tee shot at the second before Fleetwood replied by birdieing the fourth.
The Americans took control around the turn by winning the seventh, ninth and 10th, where Reed chipped in for a birdie three, to go two up.
Europe hit back immediately as Molinari drained two excellent putts for birdie and Fleetwood then took centre stage on the 15th by draining a birdie putt from the fringe.
Another superb long-range effort from Fleetwood gave him a two at the 16th and Europe were suddenly two up with two to play.
They only needed one more hole, though, as, with Reed and Woods fading, Molinari birdied the 17th from 15 feet to put the first blue on the board.
Friday's foursomes: Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 5&4
Fleetwood and Molinari made it two wins on the first day as they defeated a faltering Spieth and Thomas, who had looked so impressive in their morning fourballs win over Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.
The European duo went in front at the third when Thomas missed a four-foot putt for birdie and another miss by the American - this time from around 15 feet for par after Fleetwood had holed from 20 feet - handed them a two-up advantage at the fifth.
Fleetwood's putter was red hot now and another lengthy putt saw him birdie the sixth to go three up, although he did miss from 12 feet for par as Europe lost the eighth hole.
A solid par at the ninth was enough to restore Fleetwood and Molinari's three-up cushion after the Americans made a mess of the hole and a missed putt from Spieth at the 10th extended their advantage further.
A wayward tee shot from Molinari saw Europe lose the 11th but a par at the 13th and a birdie at the 14th, after another miss from Spieth, enabled them to wrap up the victory.
Saturday's fourballs: Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood beat Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed 4&3
Fleetwood's dream debut continued as he maintained his perfect Ryder Cup record, although it was Molinari who did most of the damage against Woods and an out-of-sorts Reed, who recorded only one birdie with Woods making only two.
The Englishman holed from 25 feet to win the second before Molinari's birdie won the third after Fleetwood and Reed both found water, but Woods produced a decent approach to the seventh and pulled a hole back with his first birdie.
Reed and Fleetwood halved the ninth in birdie-fours before Woods levelled the match following a superb second to three feet at the 10th, but Molinari birdied the next two holes for wins and the Europeans went three up at the next with the American pair unable to make par.
And the deflated pairing of Woods and Reed conceded defeat on the 15th green.
Saturday's foursomes: Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood beat Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau 5&4
Moliwood continued their perfect record together and did not record a single bogey on a tough layout with the wind gusting.
Molinari's eight-foot putt at the first got them off to the ideal start, and pars were enough to win the third, sixth and eighth holes before another birdie at nine swept them five-up at the turn.
Woods converted a pair of solid approaches from his partner for winning birdies on the next two greens, but Molinari and Fleetwood were not to be denied as the Englishman restored the four-up lead with a brilliant birdie putt at the 12th.
And the quartet were shaking hands two holes later, with Woods and DeChambeau unable to make birdie before Molinari rolled in another perfect putt from 12 feet to etch his and Fleetwood's names into the record books.