Kim inspires US Ryder Cup win
Rookie Anthony Kim gets the US off to a winning start as they clinch the Ryder Cup.
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2008 22:14 GMT

Anthony Kim played a great match against Sergio Garcia [GALLO/GETTY]
Ryder Cup rookie Anthony Kim made the most of a lead-off assignment in the singles by thumping Sergio Garcia 5 and 4 to get the US team off to a roaring start in their drive to win back the trophy.

"I got chills up my spine the whole day and I'm loving every minute of it," said the 23-year-old Kim.

"I wouldn't trade this for $10 million."

Nine years of hurt

The Americans ended Europe's run of three wins in a row, the last two by lopsided margins, when Jim Furyk secured a 2 and 1 victory against Miguel Angel Jimenez for the first US Ryder Cup triumph since 1999.

Kim, youngest player on the US team, put the hosts on track with birdies at three of the first four holes of his match against the Spaniard.

Taking advantage of some shaky play by Garcia, he grabbed a 3-up after seven and was never headed.

The Californian said he was not surprised to be tabbed as first American out in Sunday's showdown singles session.

"We talked about this earlier," he said. "I welcomed it, and it was a great day."


Furyk shakes hands with Jimenez as the US take the trophy [GALLO/GETTY]
A combative tone was set from the first hole when Kim hit his approach to within two feet and Garcia put his just outside him on the other side of the cup and the American made the Spaniard putt out.

"Sergio and I are good friends and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him," Kim said.

"He's a great player and a great guy. But out there, we're all out there to do business, and we battled all day. Now we can start being friends again."

The Californian won 2.5 points overall in his maiden Ryder Cup, and his margin of victory over Garcia was the widest winning margin by a rookie since David Duval dusted Sweden's Jesper Parnevik by the same score in 1999.

"My players poured their heart and soul into it this week," an emotional US captain Paul Azinger said in a television interview beside the 17th green.

"They played great, the crowd was unbelievable and I couldn't be happier."

Swedish hammer

Europe won the next two points after Kim’s start, Swede Robert Karlsson hammering Justin Leonard 5 and 3 and Britain's Justin Rose holing an 18-footer to birdie the 16th for a 3 and 2 win against Phil Mickelson.

Moments later, Hunter Mahan halved a tight match with Britain's Paul Casey before the Americans won the next four encounters to cross the finishing line.

Kentucky native Kenny Perry outplayed Swede Henrik Stenson 3 and 2 and Boo Weekley, a crowd favourite all week at Valhalla, holed out from a bunker to eagle the par-five seventh on his way to a 4 and 2 victory against Britain's Oliver Wilson.

Big-hitting Kentuckian JB Holmes knocked in a two-footer to birdie the 17th for a 2 and 1 win over Dane Soren Hansen, leaving Furyk to take centre stage by beating Jimenez for a final score of 16 1/2 to 11 1/2.

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