Tour Report: Match 15 recap: Europe wins, 1 up

September 30, 2012
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Squire/Getty ImagesLuke Donald (L) and Sergio Garcia picked up a hard-fought point for the Europeans.

Europe (Luke Donald & Sergio Garcia) def. U.S. (Tiger Woods & Steve Stricker) 1 up
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MORE MATCH RECAPS: Foursomes — Poulter-Rose def. Watson-Simpson, 1 up | Mickelson-Bradley def. Westwood-Donald, 7-and-6 | Johnson-Dufner def. Colsaerts-Garcia, 2-and-1 | Furyk-Snedeker def. McIlroy-McDowell, 1 up | Four-ballKuchar-Johnson def. Colsaerts-Lawrie, 1 up | Watson-Simpson def. Rose-Molinari, 5-and-4 | Donald-Garcia def. Woods-Stricker, 1 up | Poulter-McIlroy def. Johnson-Dufner, 1 up

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

MEDINAH, Ill. – The European Team of Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald defeated the U.S. Team of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 1 up on Saturday afternoon in Four-balls at the 39th Ryder Cup.

MATCH FLOW: The Europeans won the first two holes and never trailed in this match. Garcia was instrumental in Europe establishing control early, making his three birdies in the first five holes, and then Donald took over as the pressure mounted on the back nine. That’s when Woods got untracked, making five birdies and turning the match into a nail-biter. Europe led 4 up at the turn, but the Americans won three of the next four holes to gain confidence and momentum at 1 down. Donald’s 6-footer at the 15th hole briefly moved Europe back to 2 up but Woods answered with a 9-footer at No. 16 that he points at and follows toward the hole. Everyone responds to the pressure by finding dry land at the 17th hole but fittingly it comes down to Woods and Donald. Woods makes his birdie from 5 feet and Donald converts from 2 so Europe is guaranteed at least half a point. Woods and Stricker both have birdie putts on the 18th hole but the Payne Stewart Award winner’s is closest and his 8-footer lips out so Europe gets the win.

TIPPING POINT: Donald’s brilliant iron shot at the 17th hole. Woods hit first and set the tone when his ball landed 5 feet from the pin. Garcia may have alleviated the pressure a little when he left himself a 10-footer for birdie before Donald got inside them both.

BY THE NUMBERS: Europe won six holes and shot 8 under as a team. The Americans won five holes and were 6 under.

NOTES & QUOTES: Garcia says Donald is his closest friend on TOUR. The two were 4-1 in Foursomes, with the loss coming on Friday morning, but this was the first time they’d ever played Four-balls together.

Garcia is now 4-1 against Woods while Donald is 2-1.

Woods and Stricker are 0-3 at this year’s Ryder Cup and including their final match at the Presidents Cup have now lost their last five matches.

"The way that Luke held the match on the back nine was amazing. I was struggling a little bit this week, I didn’t feel very comfortable, but I putted well, I hit some good birdies and then he took over." — Sergio Garcia …

"I felt really calm all day. I don’t know why, but I just did. And kind of went back to 2006 where I hit a 6-iron to the right pin to about that (at 16), and I just thought, just do the same. I knew we had to make birdies coming in. They were making birdies on the hard holes on the back nine, 12, 13, 16.  So we just had to stay patient and keep making more birdies." — Luke Donald …

"We knew it was going to be a tough match. You never give up against Tiger and Stricker. They are a formidable pairing and they played great on the back nine." — Luke Donald …

"We wanted it because we knew it was very important to the team. We were trying very hard. I was trying my hardest. Luke, the way he played coming in was amazing." — Sergio Garcia …

"It was nice to be fresh, no doubt. This is a long grind to go all five. I’ve done it before and it’s hard. And I felt great this morning, and it was nice to kind of sleep in and get a little bit of rest. Watched the guys on TV and tried to get out here and watch them a little bit. Captain says, hey, it’s good cold out here, stay inside, stay warm and be ready for your match." — Tiger Woods …

"I’ve played well the last two afternoons and didn’t get a point. It’s tough. Yesterday I made a bunch of birdies and today I made five on the back nine and it just wasn’t enough. Feeling good about my game but just unfortunately haven’t got a point. Yesterday I played terrible in the morning. Really, really struggled. Turned around in the afternoon and unfortunately we ran into a guy who made more putts than anyone I’ve ever seen." — Tiger Woods