- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2008

RYDER CUP MATCHUPS

Pairings for the closing singles matches Sunday at the 37th Ryder Cup, which the United States leads 9-7 after two days of play at Valhalla Golf Club (7,496 yards, par 71).

12:03 p.m. - Anthony Kim (USA) vs. Sergio Garcia (EUR)

Skinny: As good as Garcia has played in the team formats at the Ryder Cup, he has been equally poor in singles (1-3-0). Kim is the much tougher player under pressure.

Prediction: Kim 2 and 1

12:14 p.m. - Hunter Mahan (USA) vs. Paul Casey (EUR)

Skinny: The U.S. rookie (2-0-2) has played far better this week than the British bomber.

Prediction: Mahan 3 and 1

12:25 p.m. - Justin Leonard (USA) vs. Robert Karlsson (EUR)

Skinny: A matchup between perhaps the two hottest players at Valhalla. The Swede is much longer, but Leonard is a superior putter, and the short-stick usually rules the day.

Prediction: All square

12:36 p.m. - Phil Mickelson (USA) vs. Justin Rose (EUR)

Skinny: In spite of Lefty’s erratic Ryder Cup record, he has played well at Valhalla. Rose has spent the week riding Ian Poulter’s coattails.

Prediction: Mickelson 2 and 1

12:47 p.m. - Kenny Perry (USA) vs. Henrik Stenson (EUR)

Skinny: The Swede is younger and stronger than the local favorite. Here’s where the tide shifts toward Europe.

Prediction: Stenson 2 and 1

12:58 p.m. - Boo Weekley (USA) vs. Oliver Wilson (EUR)

Skinny: Nobody is beating Boo at Valhalla. Nobody.

Prediction: Weekley 1-up

1:09 p.m. - J.B. Holmes (USA) vs. Soren Hansen (EUR)

Skinny: The Dane wins with nobody watching.

Prediction: Hansen 5 and 4

1:20 p.m. - Jim Furyk (USA) vs. Miguel A. Jimenez (EUR)

Skinny: This is likely to be the event’s swing match. If Furyk handles Jimenez, the United States should hoist the Cup.

Prediction: Furyk 3 and 2

1:31 p.m. - Stewart Cink (USA) vs. Graeme McDowell (EUR)

Skinny: The Irish player has been as strong as anyone on the property. Cink is, well, Cink.

Prediction: McDowell 4 and 3

1:42 p.m. - Steve Stricker (USA) vs. Ian Poulter (EUR)

Skinny: Europe’s Weekley, Poulter (3-1-0) has been man-of-the-match for Europe; he’s not going to disappoint Faldo.

Prediction: Poulter 4 and 3

1:53 p.m. - Ben Curtis (USA) vs. Lee Westwood (EUR)

Skinny: Europe’s most experienced Ryder Cup player against the greenest U.S. player. Ouch.

Prediction: Westwood 5 and 4

2:04 p.m. - Chad Campbell (USA) vs. Padraig Harrington (EUR)

Skinny: If it gets this far, the United States is in big trouble. The forgettable wild card against the guy who has won three of the last six majors isn’t a great matchup. But Europe is basically wasting Harrington in this match.

Prediction: Harrington 5 and 4

Predicted singles score: Europe 6 1/2, United States 5 1/2

Predicted final score: United States 14 1/2, EUROPE 13 1/2

- Barker Davis

MATCH CAPSULES

MORNING FOURSOMES

Poulter/Rose (Europe) def. Cink/Campbell (U.S.) 4 and 3: The Europeans built a 5-up lead in the first seven holes and weren’t pressured.

Jimenez/McDowell (Europe) halved with Leonard/Mahan (U.S.): Leonard made putts on 15, 16 and 17 to take a 1-up lead. However, he couldn’t convert a 12-footer that opened the door for the halve.

Stenson/Wilson (Europe) def. Mickelson/Kim (U.S.) 2 and 1: One of America’s two stalwart teams from Friday fell apart after holding a 4-up lead through six holes. Shots in water, shots in the trees and three-putts all fueled this stunner.

Furyk/Perry (U.S.) def. Harrington/Karlsson (Europe) 3 and 1: After winning the opening hole with a par, the Americans got the morning crowd worked up with birdies on three of the next four holes to build a 4-up lead after five.

AFTERNOON FOURBALLS

Weekley/Holmes (U.S.) def. Westwood/Hansen (Europe) 2 and 1: Weekley continued to endear himself to the Kentucky crowd with two pivotal shots on the back nine - a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th and a 143-yard sand shot to two feet on 15.

Garcia/Casey (Europe) halved with Curtis/Stricker (U.S.): The match features 16 halved holes and, appropriately, finished in a tie.

Poulter/McDowell (Europe) def. Perry/Furyk (U.S.) 1 up: The Americans’ most troublesome hole, the par-5 seventh, turned this match as well. The Europeans made a two-putt birdie while Perry flubbed a chip. Poulter protected the 1-up edge with birdie putts on the final two holes.

Mickelson/Mahan (U.S.) halved with Stenson/Karlsson (Europe): Karlsson made birdies at Nos. 12 and 13 to square the match. Both sides matched the other on the final five holes. Mickelson’s pulled 6-footer on 17 was the best chance at a win.

- Associated Press

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