Sunday Roundup: Europe wins Ryder Cup via Miracle at Medina


MEDINAH, Ill. (AP) — Europe buried the memory of that American comeback at Brookline in 1999 with one that was even better.

Medinah was filled with sheer madness Sunday, the matches so close for so much of the day that even when Martin Kaymer stood over a 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole to clinch it, the Ryder Cup was up in air.

The putt was pure and the celebration was on.

“It will go down in the history books of the Ryder Cup,” said European captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

The size of the comeback was equal to what the Americans pulled off at The Country Club, but at least they had help from endless cheers of the home crowd. Not many gave Europe much of a chance until Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia turned what looked to be certain losses into improbable wins, filling the scoreboard with European blue.

The Americans were simply stunned.

Three times they came to the 17th hole with a chance to win a match, only for Europe to deliver the key shots that win the Ryder Cup. Ian Poulter won the last two holes, and so did Rose, a birdie-birdie finish to beat Phil Mickelson. Garcia won the last two holes with pars to beat Jim Furyk.

If Kaymer had missed the putt and halved his match with Steve Stricker, the Americans would have been one point away from winning — with Tiger Woods in the fairway and 1 up over Francesco Molinari.

Woods wound up missing a 3½-foot par putt and conceded a par to the Italian from the same distance to halve their match. That extra half-point made it a clear-cut win for Europe, 14½-13½. Woods and Stricker, the anchors in the lineup, didn’t win a single match at Medinah.

It was Poulter who gave Europe hope Saturday evening when he made five straight birdies to turn a loss into a win and swing momentum in Europe’s favor. Poulter was up to his fist-pumping, eye-bulging tricks again on the final day, winning the last two holes in his match against U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

And he had plenty of help. Europe’s top five players in the lineup all won, including Rory McIlroy, who was lucky to be playing.

McIlroy thought his match was at 12:25 p.m. — it was listed in Eastern time, not Central — and needed a police escort to get to the course with 10 minutes to spare. Then, he came up with key birdies to hand Keegan Bradley his first loss of the week.

The biggest match might have belonged to Rose. He was on the verge of losing to Mickelson when Rose holed a 12-foot par putt to halve the 16th, made a 35-foot birdie putt from the back of the 17th green to win the hole, and then closed out Mickelson with a 12-foot birdie on the last hole.

Six of the 12 matches went to the 18th hole on Sunday. The Americans won only one of them.

The only U.S. points came from Dustin Johnson, who went 3-0 in this Ryder Cup, Zach Johnson and unheralded Jason Dufner.

NASCAR

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Brad Keselowski had fuel to spare for a couple of victory burnouts.

Those few splashes of gas left down the stretch were just enough for a checkered flag — and a sign Keselowski is a championship favorite.

With other contenders battling fuel woes and limping toward pit road, Keselowski had enough gas in the No. 2 Dodge to win Sunday at Dover International Speedway for his second victory in three weeks.

Keselowksi’s stout start to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship allowed him to swipe the points lead from Jimmie Johnson.

Keselowski holds a five-point lead over Johnson as the Chase shifts to Talladega Superspeedway. Keselowski, who won the Chase opener at Chicagoland, has deftly avoided the famed Big Ones that strike the Alabama track to win twice there in seven career starts.

He held off a late push from runner-up Jeff Gordon to match Denny Hamlin for the season victory lead with five.

Keselowski, Johnson and Hamlin have staked their claim through the first three of 10 Chase races as the drivers to beat.

Johnson and Hamlin each led a chunk of laps on the mile concrete oval, but failed to stretch their fuel to the end. Johnson, who has seven career wins at Dover, was ordered to back off the gas and salvaged a fourth-place finish. Hamlin pitted with 10 laps left, opening the door for Keselowski, and denying him his first win at the Monster Mile.

Hamlin faded to eighth after starting from the pole.

“They’re not going to beat us on the track, that’s just plain and simple,” Hamlin said. “We’re just too fast right now and I feel like everything is going well. These strategy games, and the way these cautions are falling, it’s ill-timed.”

Kyle Busch led a race-high 302 laps until his own battles with the pump cost him what would have been a nice victory in a season where he failed to make the Chase. He finished seventh.