Golf: Couples seals win

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AFTER there days of exciting golf, worthy of the Ryder Cup it aspires to emulate, the inaugural President's Cup ended a little too predictably, writes Robinson Holloway from Manassas, Virginia. The United States were in little real danger of losing during yesterday's singles and ended up defeating the International Team 20-12.

After losing the first seven points on Friday, the International side fought back impressively and for most of Saturday afternoon's fourballs it seemed that the sides would go into the final day tied at 10-10.

Instead, thanks to Corey Pavin and Phil Mickelson, the Americans were able to rescue two points and take a 12-8 advantage into the singles and leave the International Team needing to win nine of yesterday's 12 matches.

Though almost all of the singles were close, the International Team had too large a deficit to make up, and even the presence of Greg Norman, who flew in for the day to cheer on his erstwhile team-mates, was not enough. Norman, for whose sake this entire event was created, had to pull out at the start of the week due to an intestinal illness.

The US victory came later than it would have had this been an exact copy of the Ryder Cup. The matches here were not permitted to end in ties and those players who finished level were sent on to sudden death.

Fred Couples ended the contest, hitting an eight-iron from a fairway bunker on the 18th to a within a foot to beat Nick Price.

PRESIDENT'S CUP (Manassas, Virginia): Final score: United States 20 International Team 12: Yesterday's singles: USA 8 International Team 4: H Irwin def R Allenby (Aus) 1 up; J Haas bt M McNulty (Zim) 4 and 3; J Gallagher bt T Watanabe (Japan) 4 and 3; P Mickelson halved with F Allem (SA); T Lehman halved with V Singh (Fiji); J Huston lost to P Senior (Aus) 3 and 2; S Hoch halved with D Frost (SA); J Maggert bt B Hughes (Aus) 2 and 1; L Roberts halved with F Nobilo (NZ); F Couples bt N Price (Zim) 1 up; D Love III bt S Elkington (Aus) 1 up; C Pavin lost to C Parry (Aus) 1 up.