JERSEY CITY: The United States polished off a 19-11 Presidents Cup win on Sunday over a battling International team whose fate was sealed over three punishing prior days.
Victory was in the bag when Daniel Berger went 3-up with three to play against South Korean Kim Si-Woo – assuring himself of at least half a point to go with the half-point gained by Kevin Chappell against Marc Leishman in the first match of the day.
By the time Berger wrapped up his 2 & 1 victory over Kim, victories for Aussie Jason Day and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama were irrelevant and it was certain that US President Donald Trump would be presenting the trophy to the home side on Sunday evening.
Trump arrived at Liberty National Golf Club – which lies in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty some 30 miles from his home at his Trump National Bedminster resort – just in time to see the Americans seal the win.
He watched for awhile from the glass-walled clubhouse at the 14th green, along with US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and former commissioner Tim Finchem.
“What a feeling,” said Berger, who was informed by US captain Steve Stricker at the 16th that the United States had clinched it.
“This is a juggernaut of a US team,” said International captain Nick Price. “They’re an overpowering team that played some phenomenal golf. It was tough to watch, especially being on the receiving end.”
The Americans set themselves up for a stress-free Sunday by thrashing the internationals over 18 foursomes and fourball matches – allowing them just two wins over the first three days.
The US led by 11 points overnight and needed just a point on Sunday to claim a seventh straight Cup.
“They came in here riding a ton of momentum and a ton of confidence,” Stricker said of his players, who included the winners of the last three major championships. “It was about getting out of their way.”
The Internationals, who won their only title back in 1998 and played to a draw in 2003, were hoping for more after a narrow defeat in South Korea two years ago.
In the end their only satisfaction was denying the US bid to become the first team to win every session.
The Internationals won six matches on Sunday and halved three.
“We all knew the guys were going to come out firing today to try and get a victory or to get a point for the team,” said South African Louis Oosthuizen, a 1-up winner over Patrick Reed.
“In the 18 matches before today it’s only 3.5 points, so I think everyone was anxious to get more points on the board.”
World number three Matsuyama, noticeably out-of-sorts over the first three days, produced a 3 & 1 victory over US star Justin Thomas – who out-gunned him for the PGA Championship title in August.
Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela defeated British Open champion Jordan Spieth 2 & 1 – Spieth’s third singles defeat in three Presidents Cup appearances.
Among the US winners on the final day, five-time major-winner Phil Mickelson downed Canadian Adam Hadwin 2 & 1 in his 100th match for the United States in Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup play. --AFP