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GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy showed precisely why he is the world's number one golfer, producing a dazzling performance in the final-day singles to spearhead Europe's victory push in the 40th Ryder Cup on Sunday.
Playing in the third match of the day, the 25-year-old Northern Irishman showed the full range of his dynamic shot-making skills as he powered to an emphatic 5 & 4 win over close friend Rickie Fowler.
Europe, who now lead 11-6 and need three more points to retain the trophy they won in the 'Miracle at Medinah' two years ago, were up in four matches and down in four of the remaining 11 matches out on the course.
McIlroy wielded a red-hot putter on a sunny day at Gleneagles, notching four birdies and an eagle in the first six holes to leave his American opponent reeling.
There was no stopping the British Open and U.S. PGA champion as he claimed three more birdies before closing out the American on the 14th green.
"I knew I needed to get off to a fast start and I knew what was expected of me as one of the leaders of the team," McIlroy told Sky Sports television.
"I was really up for it today, more than in the final rounds of the majors I won earlier this year.
"It was very satisfying. I knew Paul wanted to play me up the order and I knew what was expected," he said of Captain McGinley.
"There was no option but to win. I was six-under through six and that built a comfortable lead. This week has been an amazing experience and now I am going to cheer on the rest of the boys."
Editing by Alan Baldwin