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Day Two Features
Sergio out jumps the Americans
Monty answers the hecklers in the best way
Europeans on top, 4 points clear into last day
Saturday Fourballs matches shared, Europe 8-4

Sergio out jumps the Americans

Sergio got the last leap.

One of the most entertaining Ryder Cup matches ever ended today with teen-age phenom Sergio Garcia leaping into partner Jesper Parnevik's arms on the 18th green, and into Ryder Cup history.

And that was only for a halve.

The 7-footer he made to split his team's match with David Duval and Davis Love III capped an afternoon of spectacular shots, leaping golfers and more emotion on display than a year's worth of PGA tournaments combined.

When it was finally over, Garcia was hoarse and the Americans were drained.

"I'm just glad we don't have to play them again together," Love said.

This was a match so good that there didn't have to be a winner. This was a match so good that even Duval leaped into the air.

Well, sort of.

Duval's gleeful attempt at a twisting pyramid after sinking a long birdie putt on the 10th hole to put his team ahead didn't win any style points, but it was more emotion than the stoic American had ever shown on a golf course.

He pumped his fist four times and growled something at Love.

"We were in a bad spot, and anything I could do to help got me excited," Duval said. "Especially after my lack of a stellar performance yesterday."

The best leaping, though, was still out there.

It came on the 12th hole when Parnevik holed a miracle pitch to salvage a half-point. It came on the 16th hole when Love ran in a long birdie putt to take the lead, sending captain Ben Crenshaw skipping across the green with his arms held high.

Finally, it came on the 18th hole when Europe needed a birdie to tie and Garcia had seven feet between his ball and the hole.

Parnevik was actually away and could have putted first, but his putt was a tricky downhiller, and he didn't want his young charge to putt if he had missed. So he told the Spaniard to putt first, and Garcia knocked the slightly curling putt right into the hole.

"I didn't want any bad thoughts in my mind," Garcia said. "I just wanted to hit it. I felt like I had a lot of chances to make it."

The U.S. team had cut the European lead to 8-5 and seemed on the verge of cutting it further after Love's putt on the par-3 16th hole dropped in.

The match was not only critical, it was coming against the unlikely pairing of the eccentric Swede with the rookie Garcia that until that point had won three straight matches against the Americans.

"That's their best team," Love said. "I don't know why. But every time they both get on a green, it seems someone makes it."

At times, over four matches in two days, neither player needed to be on the green.

Parnevik put a 9-iron in the cup from 131 yards Friday on No. 8 against Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, and Garcia followed six holes later by pitching in on the 14th hole for an eagle.

But when Parnevik hacked it around on the tough par-4 12th and was playing his fourth shot from 50 yards away in the deep rough, it may have been the duo's sweetest shot yet.

"I made a mess that hole," Parnevik said. "I just told my caddie that I feel like I have to hole this. To see it go in was just unbelievable."

When the shot for par dropped, Parnevik leaped in the air and ran toward Garcia, expecting yet another embrace. Garcia, though, had already run leaping past him in jubilation. He had to turn back and get his hug.

"The Americans all played great. It's just that we have done very special things," Parnevik said.

It started out like Love and Duval would do some special things too, and for the most part they did. Duval, coming off a miserable 0-2 day Thursday, hit his first iron to tap-in range on No. 1, and the Americans were 2-up through four.

Garcia made a birdie on the next hole, though, and Parnevik ran in a long birdie on No. 6 to tie things up.

A birdie on No. 8 gave the Europeans their only lead of the day, but Love, hitting from atop a rock outcropping, hit a long iron to the edge of the hole, nearly making it for double eagle on the ninth to even things back up.

Love was so excited he went running down the outcropping, and nearly slipped and fell.

It was just that kind of day.

"It feels like a loss to us, and I'm sure it feels like a win to them," Love said.

It certainly was a win to the Ryder Cup, which had never seen anything like this before.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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