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Tiger Woods clinches U.S. Presidents Cup win

DUBLIN, Ohio — The Presidents Cup ended just the way it almost always does.

Tiger Woods found the green and two-putted for par and a 1-up victory over Richard Sterne, getting the clinching point for the Cup for the Americans for the third straight time.

The Americans beat a team of International players from outside Europe for the fifth straight time — and eighth time in 10 tries — against an International side that showed some fight when it was too late to matter.

The Americans, who finished strong Sunday morning in the rain-delayed foursomes for a 14-8 lead, needed to win only four singles matches.

It took longer than anyone expected.

"I must have asked 500 times, 'How are we getting this fourth point? Where is the fourth point coming from?' " said Fred Couples, now a three-time winner as U.S. captain.

"You're nervous. Not for the players. The players know what they're doing. But we knew we needed 18 points, and we got them. It was a very, very good match (Sunday). And the matches were all close. At no given time was I a nervous wreck. But it was nice when Tiger two-putted that last green to get the 18th point."

The final score — United States 181/2, International 151/2 — and whether the matches would beat the rain created the only suspense Sunday.

"People say it was close," International captain Nick Price said. "You tell me. We were behind the 8-ball all day. If we pulled it off, it would have been miraculous."

Not that his team of seven rookies didn't give it a shot.

Zach Johnson closed out Branden Grace 4-and-2 to give the Americans 17 points and assure them a tie. But it took more than an hour to get that last point.

Graham DeLaet, who led the International side with 31/2 points after posting a 3-1-1 record, holed out for birdie for the second time Sunday on the 18th hole, this time from a bunker, to beat 20-year-old U.S. rookie Jordan Spieth.

Ernie Els found his putting touch and beat Steve Stricker 1-up. Marc Leishman rolled in a 15-foot par putt from the back fringe of the 18th green to beat Matt Kuchar 1-up. Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel won their matches, over Bill Haas and Keegan Bradley, respectively.

The International team's fleeting hopes ended when Woods, despite having back spasms again in the final hour of his match, didn't make a birdie on the back nine and still won. Sterne helped him by hitting his tee shot off the corporate tents behind the 16th green and making bogey.

"It was a team effort this whole week," said Woods, who went 4-1 for the best record of any player. "We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead."

LPGA: China's Shanshan Feng eagled the par-5 18th after her second shot hit the pin for 5-under 68 and a one-stroke victory over Stacy Lewis (68) at 26-under 266 in the smog-affected Reignwood Classic, the tour's first tournament in Beijing. Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (72) finished 4 under. For most of the tournament, the players couldn't escape the capital's notorious pollution. There was another smog delay of nearly three hours before the final round started. Sandra Gal was one of several players wearing surgical-style masks.

Tiger Woods clinches U.S. Presidents Cup win 10/06/13 [Last modified: Sunday, October 6, 2013 9:51pm]
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