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Sunday, 27 November 2011
Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar  (Getty Images)
Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar (Getty Images)
The United States ended their 11-year wait for a 24th Omega Mission Hills World Cup victory as Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland landed the title on Hainan Island.

The most successful nation in the history of the competition won their first World Cup since Tiger Woods and David Duval in 2000, as tournament debutants Kuchar and Woodland combined for a five under par 67 in the final round foursomes.

That left them 24 under par and gave them a two shot win over Germany and England, for whom Ian Poulter and Justin Rose mounted an incredible late charge with a 63, the best foursomes score of the week by three shots.

“It feels great,” said Woodland. “It was a very nice week, we were treated very nicely here, and fortunately we played well. We came here and hoping to have some fun, but we set a goal out to win and that's what we came here to do. 

“We played phenomenal, especially today. It's a tough format, and both of us picked each other up when the other one got in trouble. It was a good day.” 

Overnight leaders Ireland had problems from the moment they three-putted the first hole for bogey, World Number Two Rory McIlroy missing from two feet.

America were having no such problems, Kuchar sinking a 15-footer at the first as they started with back-to-back birdies.

A two-putt birdie at the long sixth and another 15-footer from Kuchar at the next gave the USA an advantage and although they came under pressure from Ireland and Germany, they were not to be denied.

They dropped a shot at the par three 11th after Kuchar’s tee shot found sand, but responded with consecutive birdies - the impressive Woodland holing a 50-footer at the 13th – and parred their way home for victory.

“For Gary and I to put our name on this trophy alongside Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and Tiger Woods and David Duval and Davis [Love] and Freddie [Couples] and the list goes on and on, it's a real honour,” said Kuchar.

“To be able to walk through these halls and to see our pictures and our faces, this is just a fantastic resort. To be remembered here as World Cup Champions is a real honour.” 

Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka looked the most likely challengers after Kaymer's approach to five feet at the second and a chip-in birdie from Cejka at the ninth left them trailing by one shot at the turn.

But despite being bogey-free for their final round, and Cejka sinking a 20-foot putt at the 12th, they struggled to make the required birdies over the closing stretch, eventually signing for a 69.

“It was a great week,” said Kaymer. “It was our best result we've ever had, tied second. I think we were not the favourites coming into the week, but we showed again that we are good players and we play well together. 

“I look forward to the next few years, because if I could have played a little better today, I think we would have had a good chance to win.”

Ireland looked to be back on track after their poor start when McIlroy stuck his approach to two feet at the third and sunk a ten-foot birdie putt two holes later.

But he and Graeme McDowell three-putted again at the sixth, and although McIlroy chipped in at the tenth, he missed from inside three feet for a second time at the 12th to effectively end their challenge.

A level par 72 left them level with Australia, the Netherlands and Scotland on 21 under par.

“We just didn't have it out there today,” said McDowell. “We had no mojo, we didn't make anything.  

“We knew what we had to do today. Our target was to go and shoot four under par and that's exactly what we needed to do. We just couldn't get it done. 

“We’re disappointed, of course, but this is a high quality golf tournament. The USA have played fantastic, England have played phenomenally well, and that was the high standard that we had to live up to today and we just didn't do it.” 

Rose and Poulter were the stars of the day but an eight-shot overnight deficit proved just too much. The highlights of their round were Poulter’s 12-foot eagle putt on the 16th and Rose’s 20-foot birdie at the last.

“We as Team England were a little subdued last night,” said Poulter. “I don't think either of us were much company. We stayed in our own rooms and kind of rightly so.

“I think yesterday was disappointing to shoot four under par in fourball, and to go and shoot nine under par in foursomes is crazy.

“We bizarrely shoot nine under today and actually leave shots on the golf course, which sounds very silly to say, but it's the fact.” 

Rose added: “I felt like today was a bit about coming out and playing for pride. You always have pride when you are playing for your country, but it was about restoring in individual pride for ourselves. 

“Both fourball days were uncharacteristic for us, and today was fun. We gelled and finally got the right rhythm and right intensity and I think when we do get that, we match up really, really well."

Rose joked: “I think the secret today was we dressed a little better. We dressed like the flag - we looked at each other this morning and said ‘I feel good today, should have worn this all week’. Should we represent England in a couple of years, this will be the look."

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