Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Casey makes Cup history with winning hole-in-one

AWESOME ACE Paul Casey added the first match-winning hole-in-one in Ryder Cup history to his ?1 million victory in Wentworth last Tuesday

AP , STRAFFAN, IRELAND

Europe's Paul Casey, center, is embraced by his partner Jocelyn Hefner as they watch a replay of his hole-in-one on the 14th tee after the foursomes match against Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson of the US, on the second day of the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club golf course in Straffan, Ireland, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Paul Casey found something even better than winning the richest prize in golf: an ace to win his match at the Ryder Cup.

A week after collecting ?1 million (US$1.88 million) as World Match Play champion at Wentworth, Casey crossed the Irish Sea to ace the par 3, 213-yard 14th at the K Club and make Ryder Cup history.

It was the first time in 79 years of Ryder Cup play that a match had finished with an ace, giving himself and David Howell a 5 and 4 win over Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson to help Europe to a healthy 10-6 advantage going into yesterday's singles matches.

"I knew it was close. But, when the crowd reacted, it was a bizarre moment, hands in the air," Casey said after seeing his 4-iron tee shot roll gently into the hole. "I looked at Stewart and Zach and that was it. A surreal moment, not walking up to a green."

"The reaction of the whole crowd was great and to see it on the big-screen TV was fantastic. It's probably something that will go down in history. I've seen holes-in-one at the Ryder Cup -- Nick Faldo, Howard Clark, Costantino Rocca, there's a few Europeans who have made holes-in-one. But, to close out a match is something different," he said.

If Casey had followed the advice of Europe's captain, Ian Woosnam, he may well not have done it.

"Woosie said to me that all of the other guys had hit 3-irons," he said. "As it turned out, it was a perfect 4-iron."

The foursomes victory meant Casey was unbeaten in three matches at the 36th Ryder Cup after halving both his foursomes in partnership with Sweden's Robert Karlsson, each time against Cink and J.J. Henry.

In Saturday's match against Cink and Johnson, the Europeans won four holes in a row from the second and went 5-up at the 13th. When Casey aced 14, the match was all over without Cink even teeing off.

By a strange twist, the Europeans then conceded to Cink which meant he also had a "1" on his card without even hitting the ball.

It was feared that, during his celebrations, Casey lost his club to one of the spectators who were wildly cheering behind the barriers alongside the tee.

"I know where the ball is," he said. "The ball is very safe. There is a 4-iron in my bag in the locker room. I haven't checked to see if it's mine yet. It was not a primary concern where the 4-iron was going."

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