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Americans win back Ryder Cup with a record margin of victory

Team USA players celebrate after the Ryder Cup matches at the Whistling Straits Golf Course Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Sheboygan, Wis. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

By The Associated Press

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — The Americans won back the Ryder Cup and perhaps a whole lot more Sunday, sending a strong message to Europe with a powerful performance from their youngest team in history.

The Americans won back the Ryder Cup and perhaps a whole lot more Sunday, sending a strong message with their youngest team by giving Europe its worst loss ever.

They never lost a session. They rode the experience of Dustin Johnson, who won all five of his matches and leaned on six Ryder Cup newcomers who combined for a 14-4-3 record.

Daniel Berger won the final hole in the final match for the final point and a 19-9 victory, breaking by a half-point the record margin since Europe became part of the Ryder Cup in 1979.

Scottie Scheffler, one of six Ryder Cup newcomers for the Americans, took down the No. 1 player in the world with a 4-and-3 victory over Jon Rahm as the scoreboards around Whistling Straits quickly filled with American red.

The final blow came from Collin Morikawa, at 24 the youngest player on the team and already a two-time major champion. He holed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that assured the Americans at least the 14 1/2 points they needed.

The Americans had an 11-5 advantage going into singles and needed only to win three matches and halve another.

Europe’s Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger all failed to win a point. Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, part of the backbone of European experience, didn’t win a match until singles, and by then it was too late.

The next step is winning on the road, which the Americans haven’t done since 1993. Europe still has an 11-9-1 advantage since the Ryder Cup was expanded in 1979 to include the continent.

LPGA TOUR

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Nasa Hataoka survived a nervy finish for a one-shot victory over Minjee Lee and Eun-Hee Ji at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship..

Hataoka, a 22-year-old from Japan, shot a final round 4-under 67 to finish at 16 under. She three-putted the par-5 18th after reaching the green in two, having to make a 3-footer for par after rolling her first putt 15 feet past the hole.

Hataoka, who won her fifth LPGA Tour title, had her first victory in this event in 2018.

Lee, tied for the lead with Hataoka to start the day at 12 under, shot a final round 68. Ji closed with a 67.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — K.J. Choi shot a closing 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory over Bernhard Langer and Alex Cejka at the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach for his first PGA Tour Champions win.

The 51-year-old Choi, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, reeled off four consecutive birdies from Nos. 5-8 and played the front nine in 5 under. The South Korean had eight pars and a bogey on the back nine for a 13-under 203 total in his first victory since 2011, at The Players Championship.

The 64-year-old Langer had an uneven final round of 4-under 68. The second-place finish moved Langer atop the Schwab Cup standings.

The 50-year-old Cejka started quickly, opening with three straight birdies, and four in the first five holes. He went on to bogey Nos. 6 and 8 and played the back nine in 2 under for a 68.

Scott Dunlap finished fourth at 10 under after a final round of 6-under 66. Steven Alker (67) and Paul Stankowski (68) tied for fifth another stroke back.

JAPAN GOLF TOUR

KYOTO, Japan (AP) — Keita Nakajima, the No. 1 amateur in the world, closed with a 4-under 68 and made par on the first playoff hole to beat Ryutaro Nagano and win the Panasonic Open on the Japan Golf Tour.

Nakajima, a junior at Nippon Taiku University, joins a list of prominent amateurs to win on the Japan Golf Tour that includes Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, Ryo Ishikawa and most recently Takumi Kanaya.

He finished at 18-under 270. Nagano received first-place earnings of 20 million yen ($180,500).

Nakajima said he plans to stay in university as an amateur. He is likely to finish the year at No. 1 in the world amateur ranking, which would earn him an exemption to the U.S. Open and British Open next year. He could get into the Masters if he were to win the Asia Pacific Amateur in November.

OTHER TOURS

Rookie Kum-Kang Park of South Korea rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a 7-under 65 and a two-shot victory at the Symetra Tour’s Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout at Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado, Arkansas. … Needing a birdie to force a playoff, Marcel Schneider holed a 30-foot eagle putt for a 2-under 70 and a one-shot victory in the Portugal Open over Frederic Lacroix. It was the German’s second title of the year on the Challenge Tour. …Yuna Nishimura closed with a 1-under 70 for a three-shot victory in the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Ladies Open on the Japan LPGA. … Hae Ran Ryu shot 5-under 67 and won the Chosen Pro Celebrity on the Korean LPGA by making par on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Hye Jin Choi, who birdied the last hole for a 67 to force a playoff, made bogey in the playoff.

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