2014 Ryder Cup match-by-match results

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 28, 2014, 4:40 pm

Here is a look at how each match of the individual sessions has played out in the 40th Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland:

Overall score (Europe 16 1/2, U.S. 11 1/2)

Day 3 singles (Europeans 7, U.S. 5)

Graeme McDowell def. Jordan Spieth, 2 and 1: Trailing by three holes at the turn, McDowell ran off five wins in a six-hole stretch to stun the young American and put the first point on the board for Europe.

Patrick Reed def. Henrik Stenson, 1 up: Riling up the crowd with his demonstrative celebrations, Reed made a two-putt birdie on 18 while Stenson missed a 4-footer on the last. The full-point win improved the Ryder Cup rookie’s record to 3-0-1. 

Rory McIlroy def. Rickie Fowler, 5 and 4: The close friends had a few duels this summer, but McIlroy burst out of the gates with a 3-3-3-3-3-2 start to take a 5-up lead through six holes that he wouldn’t relinquish. 

Justin Rose vs. Hunter Mahan, halved: Assured of a half point, Mahan thinned his pitch shot over the green on 18 that squandered a chance for a crucial full point.

Phil Mickelson def. Stephen Gallacher, 3 and 1: Motivated after being benched all day Saturday, Mickelson was 6 under (including the usual concessions), and won the last three holes, to defeat Scotland’s native son. 

Martin Kaymer def. Bubba Watson, 4 and 2: Kaymer won three holes in a row early (Nos. 3-5) to seize a huge lead early. He lost only one hole the rest of the way, on 15.

Matt Kuchar def. Thomas Bjorn, 4 and 3: One of the biggest disappointments on the U.S. side, Kuchar wins Nos. 5, 7, 8 and 10 to grab a 4-up lead. He improved to 1-3 this week.

Jamie Donaldson def. Keegan Bradley, 4 and 3: Delivering the clinching point for the Europeans, the Ryder Cup rookie won Nos. 11 and 12 to build an insurmountable lead, then put an exclamation point on the matches with a stiffed approach shot on 15.  

Sergio Garcia def. Jim Furyk, 1 up: In a rematch of one of the most critical 2012 singles matches, Garcia ran off four birdies and an eagle in the last seven holes to hand Furyk his record 20th loss in this competition. 

Ian Poulter vs. Webb Simpson, halved: Playing his first match since Friday morning, Simpson did well to erase a 2-down deficit at the turn, but a par on 18 wasn’t enough to earn a full point. 

Jimmy Walker def. Lee Westwood, 3 and 2: The Ryder Cup rookie was gassed during a loss Saturday afternoon, but he dropped only one hole and never trailed against Westwood

Victor Dubuisson vs. Zach Johnson, halved: The rookie Frenchman was 1 up heading to the last, but Johnson poured in a 15-foot birdie putt to halve the match.

Day 2 foursomes (Europeans 3 1/2, U.S. 1/2)

• Lee Westwood/Jamie Donaldson def. Zach Johnson/Matt Kuchar, 2 and 1: After a back-and-forth start to the match, Europe won Nos. 9 and 10 to take control of the match. The Europeans withstood the Americans’ eagle-2 on the 14th by winning the 16th and hanging on for the win, the duo’s second in two foursomes matches. Kuchar, meanwhile, dropped to 0-3.

Victor Dubuisson/Graeme McDowell def. Jimmy Walker/Rickie Fowler, 5 and 4: Gassed after going the distance in each of their previous three matches, Walker and Fowler got housed in the anchor match, falling 4 down through six holes en route to the Americans’ biggest loss of the week. Dubuisson and McDowell improved to 2-0 in team play. 

Sergio Garcia/Rory McIlroy def. Hunter Mahan/Jim Furyk, 3 and 2: Searching for their first full point of these matches, McIlroy and Garcia won the first two holes, lost No. 3, halved the next 10 holes and then won Nos. 14 and 16 to put yet another full point on the board for the Euros.

• Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed vs. Martin Kaymer/Justin Rose, halved: Two up with seven to play, Spieth and Reed made four bogeys in a five-hole stretch to return the match to all square. Reed missed a 2-foot putt on 16 that would have given the Americans the lead, but Spieth rebounded with a tee shot to 6 feet on 17. So dominant in the morning, Rose missed several putts on the back nine but made a 5-footer on the last to steal a half-point and remain undefeated this week (3-0-1).  

Day 2 fourballs (U.S. 2 1/2, Europeans 1 1/2)

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson def. Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar, 3 and 2: In the best-played match of the session, the U.S. played well but the Europeans were better. Rose and Stenson combined to shoot 12 under, holing putt after putt and capping the match with a run of 10 consecutive birdies, on Nos. 7-16. 

Jim Furyk/Hunter Mahan def. Lee Westwood/Jamie Donaldson, 4 and 3: An unlikely fourball pairing paid off for the Americans, as Furyk and Mahan birdied each of the first three holes and never looked back. The Europeans never won a hole, and Mahan's eagle after driving the par-4 14th green put things out of reach.

Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed def. Martin Kaymer/Thomas Bjorn, 5 and 3: The rookies did it again. After facing a 2-down deficit through four holes, Spieth and Reed quickly turned the tide of the match, winning five of the final seven holes to cruise to an easy point.

Jimmy Walker/Rickie Fowler vs. Rory McIlroy/Ian Poulter, halved: The closest match of the session ended in a draw, as the Europeans held a slim lead for much of the match before a back-nine rally from Walker and Fowler. A chip-in from Poulter on No. 15 was the match highlight as both sides left with critical half-point.

Day 1 foursomes (Europeans 3 1/2, U.S. 1/2)

Jamie Donaldson/Lee Westwood def. Jim Furyk/Matt Kuchar, 2 up: Needing a birdie to complete the late rally, Kuchar instead hit his pitch shot woefully short of the green, leading to a par-5 and a 1-up loss to Westwood and Donaldson. The loss dropped Furyk’s record to 5-15-3 in partner play.  

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson def. Hunter Mahan/Zach Johnson, 2 and 1: Continuing its steady play from the morning, the team of Rose-Stenson birdied the first hole and never trailed, winning the 16th and 17th holes with par to claim victory. The win moved Rose’s Ryder Cup record to 8-3 – a winning percentage (72 percent) that is second-best in European team history.

Rory Mcllroy/Sergio Garcia vs. Rickie Fowler/Jimmy Walker, halved: In danger of going 0-2 on opening day, McIlroy sank a 40-foot bomb on 17, then Garcia hit a fairway wood from the rough to 20 feet to steal a half-point. The birdie-birdie-birdie rally was a huge moment on the first day, especially since McIlroy and Garcia – two of the best drivers in the game – combined to hit only three fairways during the match. 

Victor Dubuisson/Graeme McDowell def. Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley, 3 and 2: Europe won three holes in a four-hole stretch (No. 2-5) early to set the tone and hand the team of Mickelson-Bradley their first loss in this event (4-1). The U.S. duo shot 3 over in the alternate-shot format, leading many to wonder whether they’ll be sent out again on Saturday afternoon.  

Day 1 fourballs (U.S. 2 1/2, Europeans 1 1/2)

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson def. Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson, 5 and 4: The Americans failed to make a single birdie and the Euros built a 4-up lead after 10. Following a birdie from Rose on No. 14 the Americans were defeated, after winning a pair of matches together two years ago.

Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed def. Ian Poulter/Stephen Gallacher, 5 and 4: Tom Watson's gamble on his two young rookies paid off. The Americans built a 6-up lead through 11 holes, while Gallacher never found his footing and Poulter saw his personal seven-match winning streak end.

• Martin Kaymer/Thomas Bjorn vs. Rickie Fowler/Jimmy Walker, halved: The Euros were 2 up with three holes to play, but Walker did just enough to earn the draw. The cup rookie chipped in on No. 16 to win the hole, then drained a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to grab a critical half-point.

Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley def. Rory McIlroy/Sergio Garcia, 1 up: The closest match of the day came down to the wire, as Bradley's eagle on No. 16 squared the match. Mickelson made the lone birdie on the final hole, and the U.S. escaped the first session with a narrow lead.

Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

"The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).

Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

“Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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McIlroy gets back on track

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

He is well ahead of schedule.

Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

“Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

“I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

Everything in his life is lined up.

Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.