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Singles Masterclass Powers United States to First Ryder Cup Title Since 2008

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Team USA Ryder Cup, image: weiunderpar.com

The United States ruthlessly pressed home its advantage to claim a first Ryder Cup title in eight years with a 17-11 victory over Europe at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.

Despite trailing in seven of the 12 singles clashes at one stage, a strong finish crushed any hope of a European comeback to rival the one they produced in Medinah four years ago.

It marked just the second US triumph this century and the third since 1993.

Patrick Reed set the tone by winning a thrilling tussle over Europe’s Northern Irish talisman Rory McIlroy in the top contest.

Both men started in sparkling fashion to move five under after the first eight holes in front of a raucous home crowd.

McIlroy, who holed a 60-foot birdie putt on the eighth hold, even cupped his ear and sarcastically shouted “I can’t hear you” at one stage.

The pressure eventually told, however, as Reed held his nerve on the 18th green to win by one shot.

Europe had top-loaded their team in the hope of turning the momentum.

This worked when Sweden’s Henrik Stenson beat Jordan Spieth 3&2 and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello overcame Jimmy Walker 3&2.

Belgian Thomas Pieters then became the first rookie to register four points in a Ryder Cup match with a 3&2 win over JB Holmes.

Another Spaniard in Sergio Garcia also managed to gain a half point against Phil Mickelson in a high-quality battle in which both men shot nine-under-par rounds of 63.

But that was as good as it got for the three-time defending champions as their final six players, including four rookies, managed just a point between them.

Ryan Moore claimed the decisive point against England’s Lee Westwood after recovering from two down with three to play to win on the 18th green.

“We have been criticized for eight or 10 years for not coming together,” said US captain Davis Love III after their biggest margin of victory in 35 years. “We have been kicked around for so long. You keep losing and you feel like you have to do something different. We all said we are going to do whatever it takes.”

By Nick Butler

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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