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Just Imagine

Inspired U.S. win back the Ryder Cup

  • Story Highlights
  • The United States regain the Ryder Cup beating Europe 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 at Valhalla
  • Jim Furyk beats Miguel Angel Jimenez as U.S. reach magic 14 1/2 points
  • Wins for Anthony Kim, Kenny Perry, Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes prove crucial
  • Justin Rose, Robert Karlsson, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell win for Europe
  • Next Article in World Sport »
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(CNN) -- An inspired United States team produced a barrage of birdies at Valhalla on Sunday to sweep aside Europe and win back the Ryder Cup.

Soren Hansen of the European team reacts Sunday after missing a putt on the 17th green.

Captain Paul Azinger, second from right, celebrates with Team USA after clinching victory on Sunday.

Ryder Cup rookie Anthony Kim led the charge for the home side in the first match out against Spain's Sergio Garcia as Paul Azinger's top order closed remorselessly on the five and a half points they needed to regain golf's most coveted team trophy.

Jim Furyk closed out his match against Miguel Angel Jimenez to clinch the victory and spark wild scenes of celebration.

"I poured my heart and soul into this for two years," U.S. captain Azinger said, his voice cracking with emotion.

"The players poured their heart and soul into this for one week. They deserved it. I couldn't be happier?"

European captain Nick Faldo had gambled on placing a trio of his strongest players in the final three pairings of the 12 singles matches, but Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington were mere bystanders as the U.S. dominated from the start.

By the time Open and PGA champion Harrington teed off, the Americans were ahead in eight of the other 11 matches.

Thunderous cheers rang out again and again from a boisterous and partisan crowd in Louisville as the giant scoreboards turned red to indicate the U.S were up in the crucial early matches.

Kim set the standard against Garcia, opening with four threes and going three up when his opponent dumped two balls into the water at the par-5 seventh.

The 23-year-old eventually won 5 and 4 and set the tone for what followed.

Local hero Kenny Perry and crowd favorite Boo Weekley were also in inspired form with the former holing a string of birdie putts against Swede Henrik Stenson and winning 3 and 2.

Weekley threw birdie after birdie at Oliver Wilson, the ritual "Boo" ringing out as each putt rolled home, the final on the 16th green seeing him home by 4 and 2 against his English opponent, who also played superbly on his debut.

Rare bright spots for Europe were Justin Rose's confident 4 and 2 victory over world number two Phil Mickelson and Robert Karlsson's 5 and 3 demolition of veteran Justin Leonard.

It gave Europe a glimmer of hope but Hunter Mahan sunk an improbable 60-foot birdie putt on the 17th to move ahead against Paul Casey.

Mahan promptly made a hash of the last hole but the half point was invaluable.

J.B. Holmes, like Perry from Kentucky, was involved in a crucial match with Dane Soren Hanson, turned his way by magnificent approaches to the 16th and 17th greens to secure a priceless victory.

It left the United States within one point of reclaiming the trophy and the winning moment was duly supplied by veteran Furyk.

He was three up with three to play against Miguel Angel Jimenez only for the Spaniard to win the 16th.

But the grand finale was only delayed as Jimenez saw his birdie effort roll past on the 17th -- prompting scenes of joyous celebration by Azinger and his men.

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Poulter continued his Ryder Cup heroics by closing out Steve Stricker 3 and 2 to make it four points from a possible five, while Graeme McDowell enjoyed a 2 and 1 success against Stewart Cink, but it was scant consolation for Faldo's men.

A 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 victory for the U.S. was duly wrapped up as Ben Curtis beat Westwood 2 and 1 and Chad Campbell saw off Harrington by the same margin.

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