Europe retains Ryder Cup

Europe retained the Ryder Cup on Sunday with Colin Montgomerie sinking the decisive putt in his singles match at Oakland Hills Club.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Europe retained the Ryder Cup on Sunday with Colin Montgomerie sinking the decisive putt in his singles match at Oakland Hills Club. On the final day of the 35th Ryder Cup Europe needed just three points from a possible 12 to retain the trophy. With nothing to lose, however, the USA came out with all guns blazing. In the opening match, Tiger Woods found some of the form that seemed to have deserted him for much of the last two days. He eventually defeated Paul Casey 3 and 2. Second out, Europe's Sergio Garcia took on Phil Mickelson. The young Spaniard, who had never won a singles match in two previous Ryder Cups, trailed the American by two after eight holes. Magical run But a magical run of birdies from the ninth saw Garcia win three consecutive holes to turn the match on its head. And, after Mickelson found the water at 16, Garcia wrapped up a 3 and 2 victory to register Europe's first point of the day. A titanic encounter between Davis Love III and Darren Clarke - good friends off the course - went down to the last hole. Love looked to have the match secure, two up with three to play after the 15th. But it all changed on the closing holes as Clarke made two at 16 and then amazingly chipped in from off the green at 17 to level. Love could only make five at the last, but Clarke also ended with a bogey - a half perhaps the right result, considering what both players had given. Lee Westwood's match against Kenny Perry proved to be a pivotal encounter. The Englishman was two down after six holes. But Westwood managed to peg Perry back to all-square after 12 before taking the lead at the next. The pair then traded holes, but it was Westwood who held his nerve to clinch a vital victory. The win took Europe to 13 and a half points and, with Colin Montgomerie guaranteed at least a half in the next match, it ensured Europe could not be beaten. US in the red The first four matches had turned the scoreboard into a sea of red for the United States, but Montgomerie steadied the European ship. He birdied the first hole in his contest with David Toms, and didn't trail at any stage in the match. And when he had the honour of sinking the decisive putt on 18, the Scotsman kept cool to seal a one-hole victory that guaranteed Europe an outright victory. But it didn't end there for Europe, as, out on the course, Ian Poulter, Thomas Levet and Paul McGinley all added further winning points. Padraig Harrington, meanwhile, sank a superb putt at the 18th to ensure a 1 up victory over Jay Haas. The 33-year-old Irishman, who maintains his unbeaten singles record in the competition, made par at the last to give Europe an 18 and a half to nine and a half win overall. High spirits And he was then free to join in the celebrations, along with his teammates, the European entourage - and of course the fans. Spirits were certainly high as Europe completed their best ever margin of victory in the Ryder Cup. The formalities weren't quite complete, however, as a jubilant European team - and their dejected US counterparts - made their way to the official presentation ceremony. It was down to the US PGA president M G Orender to hand over the Ryder Cup trophy to the victorious European captain Bernhard Langer. And Langer was quick to offer his thanks, and respect, to his opposite number in the USA team. "Hal, long before the matches started, we prayed that the watching world would see a contest outstanding for its competitive spirit, sportsmanship, and friendship. Then, win or lose, we could tip our hat, and hold out a hand, and I'm delighted to do that now, to say: well played, and thank you," he said. With the 35th Ryder Cup complete, attention can now turn to the 36th, which will take place at the K-Club in Ireland in two years time. Britain (or Europe since 1979) have now won nine times in the history of the competition. The United States have won 24 of the meetings, while two have been tied. (AP)