Mickelson opens record 10th Ryder Cup with win on 18th

Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:08am EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson became the first American to play in 10 Ryder Cups on Friday and duly marked the occasion with a trademark flourish on the final hole to earn a one-up victory with Keegan Bradley against Europe's strongest team.

After trailing by two after 10, world number one Rory McIlroy and number three Sergio Garcia had fought back to lead by one in the fourth and final fourball of the opening morning's action as Mickelson looked set to extend his unimpressive Ryder Cup record.

Before this week the five-time major champion had been on the losing side seven times in nine Cups, winning 14 matches but losing an American record 18 - including five in singles.

He was below his best again on Friday as a gusting wind seemed to be effecting his distance judgment, but luckily for the Americans, Europe's big two were not much better.

Holes were being won with pars -- an unusual occurrence in Ryder Cup fourballs at any time but particularly with the quality of this group -- but that merely added to the growing tension.

Mickelson had missed a tiny putt on the 15th to gift Europe a one-shot lead, only for Bradley to eagle the 16th after a stupendous second and level up.

By the time the players reached the 17th it was the only live match remaining, and seemingly every one of the 40,000-plus fans were doing their best to follow it.

That par-three was halved, sending the match up the last and into the magnificent amphitheatre of the 18th green.   Continued...

U.S. Ryder Cup player Phil Mickelson holes the match winning putt on the 18th green during his fourballs 40th Ryder Cup match at Gleneagles in Scotland September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble