Europe poised for comfortable Cup victory

Although American Stewart Cink won the first point in the last-day singles, holders Europe were cruising to Ryder Cup victory at the K Club on Sunday.

Colin Montgomerie beat David Toms one up in the top match to maintain his remarkable eight-match unbeaten singles record in the biennial competition and stretch Europe’s lead to 11-7.

Needing a further three points from the 10 remaining matches to retain the trophy, the hosts were up in seven and down in three.

Montgomerie birdied the third and fourth, was pegged back at the fifth but regained his two-shot cushion with a birdie two at the 14th where he struck a three-iron to five feet.

Toms cut the deficit by sinking an 18-foot birdie putt at the 17th before the Scot got up and down from a bunker to claim Europe’s first point of the day with his sixth singles triumph in eight Cup matches. The other two were halved.

Moments earlier, an inspired Cink put paid to Spaniard Garcia, who had won his four previous matches this week.

With his approach play in sparkling order, Cink birdied the first, second, fourth and fifth to take charge against an opponent who has won his four previous matches this week.

The American then rolled in a 35-footer for another birdie at the par-three 12th before sealing the win on 15.

Briton Paul Casey, boosted by four early birdies in match two, was three up on Jim Furyk after 15 holes.

Winner of last week’s World Match Play Championship, Casey sank a 10-footer at the first and a 15-footer at the third before picking up further shots at the fifth and seventh.

In match five, Briton Luke Donald led Chad Campbell by two after 11 holes, Darren Clarke was three up on Zach Johnson, also after 11, and David Howell headed rookie Brett Wetterich by one after nine.

Cup veteran Jose Maria Olazabal was one ahead of Masters champion Phil Mickelson after nine and Lee Westwood, despite suffering from fever overnight, was five up on Chris DiMarco after eight.

Swede Robert Karlsson trailed Tiger Woods by one after 14 holes as the world number one began look more like his normal self while Scott Verplank led Ireland’s Padraig Harrington by two after seven holes in the bottom match.

Holders Europe, who charged into a 10-6 lead on Saturday, need a total of 14-and-a-half points for victory while 14 points means they will retain the trophy and make it five wins from the last six Ryder Cups. - Reuters

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