Ramsay ends Britain's wait for US amateur triumph

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The Independent Online

Scotland's Richie Ramsay completed a stunning week last night by becoming the first British winner of the United States amateur championship since Harold Hilton in 1911. It means the 23-year-old from Aberdeen will partner the defending champion Phil Mickelson in the first two rounds of The Masters at Augusta next April.

Ramsay, also assured of a place in next year's US Open at Oakmont and the Open at Carnoustie, beat the American John Kelly four and two in their 36-hole final. Playing on the same Hazeltine course where Tony Jacklin had the last European victory in the US Open in 1970, Ramsay was the first Briton in the final since his compatriot Jack McLean in 1936.

One down after seven the Walker Cup player ­ he was left out of both series of singles last year in Chicago ­ won the next three holes and was never caught. He is the second successive European winner, the Italian Edoardo Molinari having triumphed last year.

In Akron, Ohio, 10 years to the day he turned professional, Tiger Woods reminded everybody yesterday that he is human ­ and he still won.

After losing a three-stroke lead in the last five holes, Woods registered his fourth successive win ­ and fifth in eight years at Firestone Country Club ­ by beating his fellow American Stewart Cink at the fourth hole of a play-off.

An eight-foot birdie putt gave the world No 1 the first prize of nearly £700,000 after they had tied on the 10-under-par mark of 270. It was Woods' 13th play-off win in 15 attempts. As at the Open last month and the US PGA championship last week, a European suffered playing with Woods in the final round. England's Paul Casey led by one with nine to play ­ and Woods was not even the player right on his heels at that moment.

But while Casey bogeyed the 11th and 13th Woods sank birdie putts at the 10th, 12th and 13th . Suddenly he was three strokes clear. But a drive into the trees on the long 16th led to a bogey six and Cink birdied that and the next to draw level.

Just as two years ago Cink was trying to lift the title six days after being handed a Ryder Cup wild-card. But, five years after Woods needed seven extra holes to defeat Jim Furyk on the course, the 30-year-old was not to be denied again. That makes it nine titles out of 14 in the two World Golf Championships stroke-play events since they started in 1999. Woods and Cink finished two ahead of Furyk, with Casey, three over par for the last eight holes, finishing joint fourth.

"I'm happy with that," Casey said. "First time playing in the final group on a Sunday [in America] and with Tiger as well that was an experience. I thought I played OK." The compensation is that his second Ryder Cup cap is secure.

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