Golf: Couples conquers rest of the world

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The Independent Online
Fred Couples trickled in a 30-foot birdie putt to clinch a one-point victory for the United States over the International team in the Presidents Cup at Gainesville, Virginia. The US won 16-15, but only after a mammoth struggle in the 12 final-day singles matches.

Couples, in the final match, needed to beat Vijay Singh to capture the cup, and did so at the 17th hole. After the former US Masters champion sank his birdie putt, Singh had to hole his 15-footer to keep the competition alive, but he was bothered by a spike mark and missed.

Peter Thomson, captain of the losing side, which comprised the best players from the rest of the world except Europe, said: "It would have been wonderful if we'd won as I think we played well enough to do it. I can't remember in my lifetime anything as exciting and emotional as that."

The Internationals had fallen five points behind on the first day, recovering to reduce the deficit to one point going into the final day, but still needed to win seven of the 12 singles.

The US then won five of the first seven singles contests and the International team needed to win all the last five. Steve Elkington, Ernie Els, Greg Norman and Frank Nobilo all won their matches, but Couples proved too strong for Singh.

Scores, Digest, Page 25

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