Friday 23 March 2018

39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club, Illinois USA 13½ Europe 14½

Match 1 -- EUROPE WIN

Bubba Watson lost to Luke Donald 2&1

Donald replied to Watson's opening 14-foot birdie putt with a six-footer, went one ahead when the Masters champion three-putted the next and two-up after a brilliant approach to four feet at the fourth.

Donald birdied the 11th and when Watson missed a six-footer to bogey the 12th, the gap was four. Even when Donald hit into the water on 13 he got a half in bogeys, but after he missed a five-foot chance to finish it off with an eagle at the next; Watson chipped dead at the 15th and chipped in on the 16th for wins, but went long on 17 and Donald's superb bunker shot held off the comeback.

Match 2 -- EUROPE WIN

Webb Simpson lost to Ian Poulter 2 holes

Saturday star Poulter chipped in on one, but Simpson saved a half from 15 feet and moved two up when the unbeaten Englishman bogeyed the second and fourth.

A bunker shot to three feet halved the deficit at the long fifth. Simpson was in the trees for another bogey at the 617-yard seventh and shanked his tee shot on the next, but he birdied the par-five 10th to get his nose in front again.

Poulter's birdie on 12 levelled it again and they shared the next four before Simpson failed to get up and down from sand on the short 17th. Poulter drove right down the last, but managed to get up over the trees and onto the green to secure his fourth straight victory. And with that, Europe were level at 10-10.

Match 3 -- EUROPE WIN

Keegan Bradley lost to Rory McIlroy 2&1

Relieved to make the tee in time after needing a police escort, McIlroy was conceded the fourth when unbeaten debutant Bradley bogeyed. Both birdied the long fifth before the world No 1 chipped in on six to move two in front and then completed a front-nine 32 with a birdie at the ninth.

Bradley started for home two down and cut that to one with a birdie on 10. The American levelled on 12 with a par, but McIlroy birdied the 15th with a superb bunker shot and the 16th with an even better pitch. Bradley had to make a 25-footer to stay alive on the next, but it drifted wide and Europe were only 10-9 down.

Match 4 -- EUROPE WIN

Phil Mickelson lost to Justin Rose 1 hole

Rose holed from 15 feet at the first, hit his tee shot to four feet on the next, while Mickelson went in the lake.

America's record cap-holder, winner of his first three games, was level by the fifth, but in a see-saw battle Rose was conceded an eagle on the seventh, but lost the eighth to a birdie.

One-up as a result -- and out in 32 -- Rose lost the 11th and 14th to birdies, but in an unbelievable finish holed from 40 feet at 17 and 14 feet on the last to make it 11-11.

Match 5 -- EUROPE WIN

Brandt Snedeker lost to Paul Lawrie 5&3

Lawrie had lost both his four-ball games, managing just four birdies in 32 holes, but saved his best till last.

The 43-year-old Scot chipped in from over the back of the fourth green for birdie and then holed from eight feet for an eagle three on the fifth. Another birdie on the ninth took him out in four-under and three-up, although Snedeker hit back with a birdie on the 10th to reduce the deficit.

But Snedeker gifted Lawrie the next three holes with bogeys and despite losing the 14th to a birdie, the former British Open champion closed the door at the 15th.

Match 6 -- US WIN

Dustin Johnson bt Nicolas Colsaerts 3&2

Colsaerts got off to a bad start with a bogey at the first, but Johnson repaid the favour on the fourth.

Three birdies in a row from the American were only good enough for a one-hole advantage before Colsaerts got back on level terms with a birdie on the ninth, but the key moment came on the next. On the green in two and set to lead in the match for the first time, Colsaerts four-putted to card a bogey six and lose the hole, and he bogeyed the next as well.

Colsaerts refused to buckle and got back on level terms, but Johnson birdied the 14th and 15th, and a bogey from Colsaerts on the 16th sealed his fate.

Match 7 -- US WIN

Zach Johnson bt Graeme McDowell 2&1

McDowell had secured the winning point in the final singles match at Celtic Manor two years ago, but was not in the same sort of form at Medinah, losing two of his three matches with McIlroy, before being rested for Saturday's four-balls.

He got off to a terrible start against Johnson, making a bogey at the first and second and losing the third to a birdie to find himself three down. A birdie on the fourth reduced the deficit but a bogey six on the seventh halted the momentum. McDowell birdied the ninth to be two-down at the turn, but that was the closest he could get.

The 13th was halved with bogey fours and the steady Johnson closed the door with four straight pars to put his side 12-11 ahead.

Match 8 -- EUROPE WIN

Jim Furyk lost to Sergio Garcia 1 hole

Furyk had been a wild card selection, but was only used twice before Sunday with one win and one defeat alongside Brandt Snedeker, although both matches were against McIlroy and McDowell and both were decided on the 18th.

There was never more than one hole in it against Garcia, who went ahead with a birdie on the second, but bogeyed the third to hand the advantage straight back. Another Garcia bogey on the eighth saw him go behind, but a birdie on the ninth got the Spaniard back on level terms.

A run of birdie-bogey-birdie from Furyk put the American one up with four to play, but he then missed from 15 feet for par on the 17th to leave the match level going up the 18th. And when another par putt on the last went narrowly wide, Garcia had won the last two holes to claim a vital victory and put Europe 13-12 ahead.

Match 9 -- US WIN

Jason Dufner bt Peter Hanson two-up

The unflappable Dufner started superbly and four birdies in the first eight holes helped put him four up.

Hanson responded by winning the 10th with a birdie and Dufner then missed a short putt for a half at the 11th. He recovered his composure to restore a two-hole lead with a 40ft putt on 13, only to drop back again at the next.

Dufner drove the 15th green to go two ahead again but gave Hanson a sniff again by overshooting the 17th green from the bunker. Hanson sensed an unlikely half at the last but even after Dufner misread a long putt, he could not convert from the back of the green.

Match 10 -- EUROPE WIN

Matt Kuchar lost to Lee Westwood 3&2

Westwood never trailed but it was not until the 12th when he started to take a decisive grip as Kuchar missed a par putt to fall behind.

Westwood doubled his advantage at the next and, although Kuchar holed a long putt for a half at the 14th, a great birdie at the par-four 15th gave the European a three-hole lead.

The match was settled at the 16th. Westwood lipped out with his first attempt to secure victory but then followed up from three feet.

Match 11 -- EUROPE WIN

Steve Stricker lost to Martin Kaymer 1 hole

A nip and tuck affair was all-square on eight occasions; Kaymer birdied the ninth to go one-up as Stricker's putt missed by a fraction.

Stricker levelled again at the 10th, and the 11th was shared in bogey fives.

A tit-for-tat encounter continued up to the 17th, where Stricker's tee shot went off the back of the green, where he thinned his chip, enabling his German opponent to take a one-hole lead with a par. And on the last, Kaymer -- after sending his initial 20-foot effort five feet past the hole, showed nerves of steel to sink the putt that ensured Europe retained the Ryder Cup.

Match 12 -- Tie

Tiger Woods halved with Francesco Molinari

Molinari shot into a two-hole lead after the third, before Woods fought back to level by the turn. The Italian forged ahead again with a birdie on the par-five 10th, only for back-to-back bogies at 12 and 13 to hand Woods a one-hole advantage.

Another birdie from Molinari left it all square, and the duo shared the 15th and 16th. On the par-three 17th, though, Molinari went over the green, was heavy-handed with his chip, presenting the hole to Tiger.

Playing the 18th, they knew Europe had retained the Cup, and when Woods three-putted from about 15 feet, Molinari won the hole, tied the individual contest and won the overall tournament for Europe.

Irish Independent

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