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Aston Villa 2 Bradford 1 (agg 3-4): Match report

Aston Villa 2 Bradford 1 (agg 3-4): Hanson header kills off Villans as Bantams secure historic Wembley date

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 22 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 22 January 2013

James Hanson was the hero for Bradford City who secured a place in the Capital One Cup final despite defeat on the night, courtesy of an aggregate victory over Aston Villa.

The hosts flew out of the traps and seemed to be overwhelming the npower League Two side in the early stages of the first half and took a deserved lead through Christian Benteke in the 24th minute.

The Bantams held on and Hanson's header in the 55th minute sent the masses from South Yorkshire wild, the first team from the fourth tier in 51 years to reach a major final.

Andreas Weimann scored a late goal, but it was a mere consolation for Villa who now only have a relegation battle to face this season.

Phil Parkinson's side will face either Chelsea or Swansea in the final on February 24.

More to follow…

We're going to Wembley! Hanson's header put daylight between the two teams

We're going to Wembley! Hanson's header put daylight between the two teams

Match facts

Aston Villa: Given, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett (Weimann 70), Ireland, Delph, Bannan (Bent 62), N'Zogbia, Benteke, Agbonlahor.

Subs not used: Guzan, Holman, Stevens, Lichaj, Carruthers.

Booked: Clark, N'Zogbia, Delph.

Goals: Benteke 24, Weimann 89.

Bradford: Duke, Darby, McHugh, McArdle, Good, Hines (Thompson 71), Gary Jones, Doyle, Atkinson, Hanson, Wells (Turgott 87).

Subs not used: McLaughlin, Ravenhill, Reid, Connell, Nelson.

Goals: Hanson 55.

Aggregate: (3-4)

Attendance: 40,193

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

Magic moment: Hanson slams home the header to send Bradford through to the final

Magic moment: Hanson slams home the header to send Bradford through to the final

Magic moment: Hanson slams home the header to send Bradford through to the final

Too little: Benteke's strike gave Villa hope, but it wasn't built upon

Too little: Benteke's strike gave Villa hope, but it wasn't built upon

Too little: Benteke's strike gave Villa hope, but it wasn't built upon

Twitter reaction

Shaun Teale: I'm embarrassed that these players will walk off the pitch and go home while the fans will be distraught . To many players not good enough

Michael Owen: Villa devoid of ideas. Resorting to knocking it long. No width at all. Bradford fully deserve to be heading to Wembley.

Plenty to ponder: Lambert must now steel his team for a relegation battle

Plenty to ponder: Lambert must now steel his team for a relegation battle

Nedbank Challenge: Paul Lawrie grabs halfway lead at Sun City

Lawrie grabs halfway lead at Sun City but Kaymer and Westwood lurk

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UPDATED:

19:32 GMT, 30 November 2012

Scotland's Paul Lawrie is the one-shot leader at the halfway stage of the Nedbank Challenge, with his three-under-par 69 giving him the edge at Sun City.

The Ryder Cup winner takes the slenderest of advantages into the third day, with Martin Kaymer a shot behind.

Four players then trail on one under; Bill Haas, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, with two-time defending champion Lee Westwood on level par.

Great Scot: Paul Lawrie shot a second round 69 in testing cconditions in the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Great Scot: Paul Lawrie shot a second round 69 in testing cconditions in the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Great Scot: Paul Lawrie shot a second round 69 in testing cconditions in the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Behind him is Peter Hanson (one over), before a real gap to the rest, with Carl Pettersson three over, Nicolas Colsaerts and Garth Mulroy four over and finally, Justin Rose, a further four shots back.

It was a horror day for the Englishman, a seven-over 79 not amongst his finest rounds, but Lawrie will at least sleep easy tonight after his 69.

Nedbank Challenge

Round one – Colsaerts puts Ryder Cup pals in the shade to lead

He could have signed for an even better score too, with a bogey on the 15th-hole par four stopping him from registering the outright best round of the day.

Kaymer also carded a 69 consisting of five birdies and two bogeys, while Westwood, looking for a third successive win at the event, was left to rue a bogey and a double-bogey six at the par-four 16th as he ended one over for the day.

He had little on compatriot Rose, though, whose score was heavily undermined by a triple bogey on the par-four third. Lawrie's controlled round was all the more impressive considering the wind which ripped around the course.

In the chase: Lee Westwood (above) and Martin Kaymer (below) in action at the Gary Player Country Club

In chase: Lee Westwood (above) and Martin Kaymer (below) in action at the Gary Player Country Club

In the chase: Lee Westwood (above) and Martin Kaymer (below) in action at the Gary Player Country Club

Save for a couple of close shaves with the putter, he could have done even better.

'I played nicely, I struggled a bit with the driver so I hit a lot of three-woods off the tees. I hit my three-wood pretty far, but I also hit a lot of good shots with my irons. The greens are a little slower and I left a few putts out there,' he said.

'The wind was swirling, and it was quite difficult. It was chopping and changing – a little bit like Augusta. It is difficult to get the distance right this week, but so far we only got a couple wrong so we've done okay.'

In such a compact field, though, he knows he has little time to relax.

'The leaderboard is pretty damn packed, and pretty close together,' he added. 'There is still a lot of golf to play and a lot of time for guys to come back who struggled in the first two days. So far, so good for me, but there is still a long way to go.'

Singapore Open: Rory McIlroy clinches European Tour money list

McIlroy nabs European title as Manassero helps him out by beating Oosthuizen

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UPDATED:

12:58 GMT, 11 November 2012

A 30-foot eagle putt on the final green at the Barclays Singapore Open made Rory McIlroy the European Tour's youngest money list winner since Sandy Lyle in 1980.

But it was only when 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero also eagled the same hole more than two hours later that McIlroy could crack open the champagne again.

Already with the PGA Tour title in the bag, the 23-year-old world number one emulated the double achieved by Luke Donald last season when Manassero beat South African Louis Oosthuizen with a 12-foot putt at the third play-off hole.

That's the ticket: Rory McIlroy finished third in Singapore

That's the ticket: Rory McIlroy finished third in Singapore

LEADERBOARD

Click here for the final standings

If Oosthuizen had won he could still
have caught McIlroy, but instead Manassero became the first player to
win three times on the circuit before the age of 20. Not even Seve
Ballesteros managed that.

McIlroy, watched during the week by
girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, stormed through to third place with a
closing six-under-par 65.

'I left myself a little bit too much
to do to win, but it was a great way to finish off the round and the
tournament,' said the Northern Irish star, who still has his defence of
the Hong Kong Open and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to come
this next fortnight.

The race would still have been alive
if either Peter Hanson or Oosthuizen had played in Hong Kong or at this
week's South African Open, but they have not entered.

On clinching the money list double McIlroy said: “It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European number one, especially after finishing second two of the last three years.

Helping hand: Matteo Manassero of Italy with the winners trophy after winning in a three hole playoff with Louis Oosthuizen

Helping hand: Matteo Manassero of Italy with the winners trophy after winning in a three hole playoff with Louis Oosthuizen

Race to Dubai money list standings

1 Rory McIlroy 2,966,985

2 Peter Hanson 2,120,959

3 Justin Rose 2,059,798

4 Louis Oosthuizen 2,044,184

5 Ian Poulter 1,822,644

6 Branden Grace 1,671,036

7 Francesco Molinari 1,630,171

8 Luke Donald 1,475,622

9 Graeme McDowell 1,462,726

10 Paul Lawrie 1,425,216

11 Nicolas Colsaerts 1,363,063,

12 Lee Westwood 1,317,982

13 Matteo Manassero 1,198,873

14 Marcel Siem 1,070,584

15 Thorbjorn Olesen 995,685

16 David Lynn 952,025

17 Rafa Cabrera Bello 939,767

18 Bernd Wiesberger 822,449

19 Jamie Donaldson 815,188

20 Alex Noren 805,292.

'It has always been one of my goals
ever since securing my Tour card five years ago, but then to also end
the year as both European and PGA Tour number one is just amazing.

'I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the Order of Merit.

'To be able to accomplish this goal
with still two events remaining means that I can head to my UBS Hong
Kong Open defence and the DP World Championship Dubai without that added
pressure and just really enjoy my golf.

'Winning a second major championship
(the USPGA in August by eight shots just like his US Open triumph last
season) already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke
Donald in becoming number one in both Europe and the States is the icing
on the cake after a fabulous season.

'I set myself a number of ambitious goals at the start of the year, and to have ticked so many of the boxes feels great.

'A lot of hard work went into this
and I am really proud of what I've achieved in 2012. I would like to
give special thanks to the team around me for all the support they have
given me throughout the year.

'I've still got two events remaining
this year and the goal is still to try and win at least once more before
the end of the year. Beyond that I'm looking forward to a good break
over the winter!

Taking a swing: Oosthuizen of South Africa takes a shot during round three

Taking a swing: Oosthuizen of South Africa takes a shot during round three

'I've got a healthy lead in the world
rankings, but with so many very good players on both sides of the
Atlantic it will not be a time to be resting on my laurels. My goal is
to push on in the new year.

'Monty (Colin Montgomerie) won eight Order of Merits in his prime and I have won one, so there is plenty of ground to make up.

'Also Jack Nicklaus won 18 Majors and
I now have my name on two, so targeting the majors will still be my
main focus next season.'

Manassero, just 17 when he became the
Tour's youngest-ever winner in Spain two years ago, had slipped from
29th in the world to 85th and said: 'This year has been a little tough
for me and I'm glad this came.

'I'm going through a few swing
changes and have picked up length. The driver is the most important
thing – I changed it this week and it gave me a few extra yards.

Strolling: McIlroy walks with Gregory Bourdy of France (right)

Strolling: McIlroy walks with Gregory Bourdy of France (right)

'It's been an extremely long day, but
the adrenalin kept me going and the key, I think, was starting really
well with a few birdies this morning.'

The Verona youngster made four in a
row from the third hole in a third round that resumed at 7.30am and
after posting a 64 for a two-stroke lead he grabbed two more birdies
early in the final round.

They dried up after that, however,
and Oosthuizen caught him with three in a row around the turn, only to
bogey the 12th and 13th.

A chip-in for a two on the 201-yard
next increased the pressure again, however, and Manassero bogeyed the
15th after driving into rough.

When Oosthuizen pitched to a foot on
the last for a 67 he went ahead again, but Manassero's two-putt birdie
gave him a 69 and forced sudden death on 13 under par.

Both birdied the 18th again, then
parred it with Oosthuizen lipping out from under five feet and after
returning to the tee again – they actually played the 542-yard hole five
times during the day – it was Manassero who came up with the decisive
stroke to claim the first prize of over 618,000.

He has earned over 2.5million in his career already – and will not be 20 until next April.

Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen lead HSBC Champions

Scott finishes with a flourish to share lead with Oosthuizen at HSBC Champions

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UPDATED:

10:03 GMT, 1 November 2012

A spectacular finish by Australian Adam Scott gave him a share of the lead with South African Louis Oosthuizen after the first round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

Scott, who blew the Open in July with four closing bogeys, this time followed back-to-back birdies with a 10-foot eagle putt on the 573-yard ninth at Mission Hills in Shenzhen.

That gave the 32-year-old a seven-under-par 65 minutes after 2010 Open champion Oosthuizen had rolled home a 14-foot birdie putt on the same green to set the clubhouse target.

Setting the pace: Adam Scott sits at the top of the leaderboard with Louis Oosthuizen

Setting the pace: Adam Scott sits at the top of the leaderboard with Louis Oosthuizen

Golf blog

Ireland's Shane Lowry, who qualified by winning the Portugal Masters three weeks ago, looked set to be the star of the show when he reached eight under after 16 holes, but he finished disappointingly.

Lowry, also fifth last week at the BMW Masters in Shanghai, missed the green at the short 17th and after failing to get up and down there he paid the price for driving into sand on the last.

Another bogey dropped the 25-year-old into a tie for third with three of this week's favourites – Masters champion Bubba Watson, four-time major champion Phil Mickelson and last week's winner Peter Hanson.

Mickelson, seeking a third victory in the event, matched Scott's eagle on the ninth, in his case from 25 feet, and said: 'My game feels really good. It's gotten better each week since the PGA Championship and hopefully I can carry on – I certainly feel confident that I will be able to.'

Fellow left-hander Watson, who eagled the 568-yard 11th and also had seven birdies to make up for three bogeys, said:

'The course sets up good for a little cut off the tee and the greens are rolling so true.'

Hanson is hoping to take advantage of Rory McIlroy's controversial decision – and that of Tiger Woods – to miss the final world championship of the season.

Flawless: South African Oosthuizen had seven birdies and no dropped shots

Flawless: South African Oosthuizen had seven birdies and no dropped shots

After holding off world No 1 McIlroy last weekend for the best win of his career so far, Hanson has a chance to overtake the Northern Irishman on the European Tour money list with only three weeks left in the race.

The Swede, playing with Watson, was relieved to finish with a par five on the ninth, however.

He blasted his drive well wide and hit another ball off the tee, but he was able to advance the first one down the fairway.

'It was a good celebration on Sunday night and I took it easy on Monday,' Hanson said.

'You know you are playing well, but you have to stay fresh and it's all about keeping your head in the right mindset and keep playing aggressive.'

On a money mission: Peter Hanson is in contention and can catch Rory McIlroy in the Race to Dubai

On a money mission: Peter Hanson is in contention and can catch Rory McIlroy in the Race to Dubai

Dustin Johnson, another of the six American Ryder Cup players who made the trip, eagled the seventh in a 67 that gave him a share of seventh place with Thai golfer Prom Meesewat.

Luke Donald is among those one further back, while Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie and defending champion Martin Kaymer shot 69s.

Lee Westwood needed three closing birdies for a 70, the same as Open champion Ernie Els on his return from an ankle injury, but Justin Rose, third on the European Order of Merit and like Hanson with an opportunity to go to number one this weekend, had to be content with a 72.

Rory McIlroy beats Tiger Woods in Duel at Jinsha Lake

McIlroy wins Duel at Jinsha Lake as Woods is edged out in exhibition match by one shot

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UPDATED:

09:49 GMT, 29 October 2012

Rory McIlroy outscored Tiger Woods for only the third time in 11 head-to-head clashes in China, winning their 'Duel at Jinsha Lake' with a five-under-par 67 to the American's 68.

The world's top two golfers met for a one-off match after competing in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur over the weekend.

McIlroy was runner-up to Ryder Cup team-mate Peter Hanson at the BMW Masters and Woods fourth behind compatriot Nick Watney in the CIMB Classic.

Contrasting emotions: McIlroy beams while Woods' grimaces at the prize giving finale

Contrasting emotions: McIlroy beams while Woods' grimaces at the prize giving finale

Three weeks after Woods defeated the 23-year-old by six strokes during the World Golf Finals in Turkey, it was McIlroy who always held the edge this time.

He had two early birdies and turned two in front before Woods chipped in at the short 12th, but the 14-major champion bogeyed two holes later and could not get back on terms.

Gold standard: The two golf superstars get the event underway

Gold standard: The two golf superstars get the event underway

Gold standard: The two golf superstars get the event underway

Neither player is staying on in the country for this week's WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills.

McIlroy, flying to Bulgaria to watch tennis girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, next plays at the Singapore Open next week, while Woods has one event left in 2012 – the World Challenge in California at the end of next month.

Slender victory: McIlroy edged out Woods by just one shot in China

Slender victory: McIlroy edged out Woods by just one shot in China

Slender victory: McIlroy edged out Woods by just one shot in China

Slender victory: McIlroy edged out Woods by just one shot in China

Rory McIlroy payday with Tiger Woods could cost him Race to Dubai glory

Rory payday with Woods could cost him Race to Dubai glory with Hanson closing in

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 28 October 2012

Rory McIlroy will pocket a $2million cheque just for playing an 18-hole exhibition match at Zhengzhou in central China with his rival at the top of the world rankings, Tiger Woods.

However, while it will boost his army of worldwide fans, it could turn out to be a very short-term gain for the Ulsterman’s kudos and bank balance.

For in choosing to play with the American, McIlroy has opted out of the big-money HSBC Champions WGC which starts in southern China on Thursday.

Second best: Rory McIlroy lost out in the final round of the BMW Maasters in Shanghai

Second best: Rory McIlroy lost out in the final round of the BMW Maasters in Shanghai

As the 23-year-old jets off to Bulgaria later in the week to watch his tennis-star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki playing in the last WTA event of the year, a severe blow could be dealt to McIlroy’s one remaining ambition of an amazing year.

He wants to win both Europe’s Race to Dubai money list and top the US Tour’s earnings table to sit alongside his brilliant eight-shot major victory in the US PGA Championship in August.

But while he sits watching tennis in Sofia, his new main rival in the Race to Dubai, Swede Peter Hanson, will be in action at Mission Hills.

Swede dreams: Peter Hanson (left) took the glory in China after holding off the world No 1

Swede dreams: Peter Hanson (left) took the glory in China after holding off the world No 1

Furthermore, after producing a tension-packed one-shot victory over McIlroy to pocket a 721,000 winner’s cheque at the BMW Masters in Shanghai, Hanson believes he is capable of producing one of the golfing upsets of the season.

‘I am playing some of my best golf ever,’ said Hanson. ‘I am just living the dream, having gone out there and beaten Rory playing in the last group. Now I am second in the Race to Dubai and have a chance of winning it.

Nice work if you can get it: Tiger Woods is set to take on McIlroy in an exhibition match at Zhengzhou

Nice work if you can get it: Tiger Woods is set to take on McIlroy in an exhibition match at Zhengzhou

‘Obviously, I will need a good week at the HSBC but I have the chance and will sit down with my management and discuss adding the Singapore Open the following week to my schedule.’

Banking his runners-up cheque for 481,702, McIlroy actually increased his Race to Dubai lead to 660,288. But he now only plans to play two more events — the Hong Kong Open and the Dubai WGC, while Hanson is considering playing four tournaments with total prize-money of around 18m up for grabs.

Rory McIlroy and Peter Hanson set for BMW Masters duel in final round

McIlroy and Hanson set for Sunday duel at Shanghai noon over BMW Masters title

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UPDATED:

09:11 GMT, 27 October 2012

Peter Hanson has world No 1 Rory McIlroy breathing down his neck with a day to go at the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

A third-round 70 took Hanson to 16 under par, but his Ryder Cup team-mate shot 69 and is now only one behind as he chases a fifth victory of the season.

South African George Coetzee's 66 brought him only three behind and then comes a further two-stroke gap to a chasing pack which includes Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Irish pair Michael Hoey and Shane Lowry.

Frustration: McIlroy throws his club on the seventh green

Frustration: McIlroy throws his putter on the seventh green

Frustration: McIlroy throws his putter on the seventh green but still trails leader Hanson by just one shot

BMW Masters Leaderboard

Click here to see all the latest scores

Hanson was caught first by McIlroy
and then by Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts – another of the European stars in
Chicago last month – when he followed a birdie on the second with three
bogeys by the eighth.

But the Swede regained control with
birdies at the ninth, 11th, 13th and 15th. McIlroy matched two of those,
made a 14-foot putt to narrow the gap to one again on the 16th and then
lipped out from nine feet at the next.

'The wind was blowing from the
opposite direction, which made some of the holes trickier,' Hanson said.
'It was not as easy to go low and my driving was not great, but it was
still a good round.

Daunting: McIlroy hits his tee shot over water on the seventh hole of his third round on Saturday

Daunting: McIlroy hits his tee shot over water on the seventh hole of his third round on Saturday

Centre of attention: Northern Ireland's world No 1 hits an approach at the Lake Malaren Golf Club

Centre of attention: Northern Ireland's world No 1 hits an approach at the Lake Malaren Golf Club

'I need to play better, but if I can get back to how I was the first two days I think I have a good chance.

'To win would mean a lot. This is the start of a big stretch and it's nice to find a bit of form.'

He was the only member of Jose Maria
Olazabal's side at Medinah not to contribute anything to the points
total and was angry not to be given more than two games in the week.

McIlroy, winner of the Shanghai
Masters on the course a year ago, dropped his only shot at the long
third and had to wait until the 11th for his second birdie of the day,
but he remains favourite for a first prize of over 720,000.

Out in front: Sweden's Peter Hanson leads the way after three rounds of the BMW Masters

Out in front: Sweden's Peter Hanson leads the way after three rounds of the BMW Masters

Colsaerts was only one behind when he
came to the 420-yard 16th, but driving into thick rough and then going
over the green with his third led to a double bogey and he followed it
immediately with another, pushing his tee shot to the 17th into the
lake.

That enabled Donald, Rose, Hoey,
Lowry, last year's Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Swede Alex
Noren all to move into a tie for fourth on 11 under, five back.

The highlight of Rose's round was
driving the green at the dogleg 380-yard 11th and sinking a 30-foot putt
for eagle. He came home in 32 for a 69, but is in danger of falling
further behind McIlroy in the race to be Europe's money list winner this
season.

Plenty to smile about: South Africa's George Coetzee is in contention after a Saturday 66 left him three shots back

Plenty to smile about: South Africa's George Coetzee is in contention after a Saturday 66 left him three shots back

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman has
already sealed the PGA Tour title in America and can take a huge step
tomorrow towards emulating the double achieved by Donald last year.

Robert Karlsson played with Hanson and
McIlroy, but fell 10 behind with a 75, while Welshman Jamie Donaldson,
who led by four after his opening course-record 62, is now eight back
after disappointing rounds of 74 and 72.

Jamie Donaldson leads after course record at BMW Master

Donaldson outshines Ryder Cup stars…but McIlroy and Co are ready to pounce

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UPDATED:

09:48 GMT, 25 October 2012

Welshman Jamie Donaldson left Europe's Ryder Cup side trailing in his wake with a brilliant course-record 62 at the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

Donaldson, whose victory at the Irish Open in July was his first in 255 European Tour events, birdied 10 of the first 16 holes at Lake Malaren and then saw his chip to the short 17th lip out of the hole.

Catch me if you can: Welshman Jamie Donaldson is four clear after a course-record 62 at the BMW Masters

Catch me if you can: Welshman Jamie Donaldson is four clear after a course-record 62 at the BMW Masters

Golf blog

The 37-year-old parred the last and has a four-stroke lead over Swede Peter Hanson and Italian Francesco Molinari.

Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, without a top-10 finish since January, and Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey were both in with 67s.

Rory McIlroy joined the pair after a superb approach to three feet at the last set up his birdie.

The world No 1 was back on the course
where he won the Shanghai Masters a year ago, playing alongside 10 of
his team-mates from Medinah. Sergio Garcia was not in attendance.

Game for a laugh: Rory McIlroy (left) kept his Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose amused in Shanghai

Game for a laugh: Rory McIlroy (left) kept his Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose amused in Shanghai

Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Rose were in a group on four under as the top half of the leaderboard became crammed with star names.

Donaldson told European Tour radio: 'It was one of those rounds where you hit every shot where you want to and every putt where you want to.

'The course suits me. The fairways are quite generous and if you miss the bunkers you can play aggressive golf.

'It's an awesome field, so I need to keep playing like that to stay ahead of them.'

Andrew Strauss misses simple putt at St Andrews

Fore! Strauss was always better at hitting fours as he misses simple putt at St Andrews

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UPDATED:

18:54 GMT, 4 October 2012

Just found out that KP is back in the England set-up, Straussy No, this was the moment that recently-retired England captain Andrew Strauss missed the simplest of putts while playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship pro-am at St Andrews.

While Kevin Pietersen begins the process of re-integration into the England set-up, his former skipper as enjoying his round on the Old Course. But this miss had Strauss hanging his head in shame.

I can't watch! Strauss hides his his head in shame after missing this putt

I can't watch! Strauss hides his his head in shame after missing this putt

Elsewhere, South African Branden Grace equalled the European Tour record with a round of 60 at Kingsbarns in the first round.

Already with three European Tour titles to his name this season, the 24-year-old knocked two strokes off Lee Westwood's course record thanks to an eagle and 10 birdies – five of them in a row to finish with.

Fourteen players have now shot 60 on the circuit – Darren Clarke has done it twice – and like so many of the others Grace came off saying: 'It could have been a 59'.

All smiles: Strauss was enjoying his round at the Alfred Dunhill pro-am

All smiles: Strauss was enjoying his round at the Alfred Dunhill pro-am

All smiles: Strauss was enjoying his round at the Alfred Dunhill pro-am

The Pretoria golfer leads Victor Dubuisson by two, the Frenchman's 62 at St Andrews today also being a course record, while many of the big guns were left trailing in his wake after they battled with the far tougher Carnoustie.

The three Ryder Cup heroes in the field – Paul Lawrie, Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson – returned 75, 70 and 72 respectively, with Lawrie commenting on his return to the course where he won the 1999 Open: 'I was a little bit tired obviously, but the first 12 holes were my worst ball-striking of the year.'

Kiss and make up: KP is back in the fold after being kicked out of the England team

Kiss and make up: KP is back in the fold after being kicked out of the England team

Ryder Cup 2012: How Europe won it – Derek Lawrenson

The Masters of Medinah: How Europe came from behind to retain the Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 1 October 2012

How do you win the Ryder Cup when you’re four points down and the Americans are so exultant the bookmakers have made them 33-1 on to win the trophy How do you beat the best player in the American team without so much as a single warm-up shot

How do you keep the will to win when the crowd has turned febrile and they’re making Hannibal Lecter noises at you as you’re trying to play a bunker shot Or hissing ‘Miss it! Miss it!’ when you’re standing over a putt to complete the Medinah miracle

Three of the classiest men in golf stood centre stage on Sunday and what stories Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer had to tell. It is part of Ryder Cup legend now that McIlroy beat Keegan Bradley after arriving at the course with minutes to spare.

High point (from left): Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer lift captain Jose Maria Olazabal aloft

High point (from left): Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer lift captain Jose Maria Olazabal aloft

If you had to pick one moment from the whole exhausting occasion and pronounce it the one when the tide shifted inexorably from red to blue, it would have to be Rose’s astonishing success over Phil Mickelson.

And then there was Kaymer, standing over a five-foot putt to retain the trophy, just as his idol Bernhard Langer did at Kiawah Island in 1991.

As Kaymer said, emphasising one particular word: ‘If I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren one day, this is the story that I will HAVE to tell.’

Nobody who saw Kaymer on Saturday morning could have believed he would be playing the role of hero the following afternoon. His captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, had told him he would be sitting out both matches after an awful showing the previous day and he was distraught.

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holes the winning putt on the 18th green

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holes the winning putt on the 18th green

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holes the winning putt on the 18th green

single scores GRAPHIC.jpg

A major champion as recently as 2010, how could this happen If truth be told, the 27-year-old was feeling sorry for himself.

‘I fully respected the captain’s decision, but when you play badly on the Friday you want to show people what you can do the following day,’ he said. ‘I didn’t have that chance.’

He sought out Langer for advice. Trust him to put Kaymer right and spell out what team golf is all about.

‘My attitude wasn’t right, but it was after my chat with Bernhard,’ said Kaymer, smiling.

Rose had holed nothing in a Saturday fourballs pummelling and was feeling helpless with the team trailing by six points as he went off the course. He had been one of the few success stories in the defeat at Valhalla in 2008 and this Ryder Cup was unfolding in a similarly disappointing fashion.

Like his team-mates, though, Rose took inspiration from the heroics of his great mate Ian Poulter, who put in the best five holes of his career to win the anchor fourballs match with McIlroy. The deficit had been reduced to four overnight and there was at least a glimmer of hope.

Four matches in two days at a Ryder Cup is an awesome workload. Historically, only 25 per cent of those players who have done that go on to win their singles. But Rose still took his clubs back to his hotel and practised on the carpet in his room.

‘I was just hitting some putts and
thinking about things and something clicked to do with my grip pressure
that really paid off for me,’ he said.

Sunday morning dawned the same as so
many others for McIlroy when he is on the road. He picked up the phone
and talked to his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, who was competing in a
tennis tournament in Beijing. He went for a walk around the hotel to
kill time before retreating to his room on the 14th floor. McIlroy was
excited about the day and eager to find out how Americans like his
opponent Bradley, who had looked unbeatable with his partner Mickelson,
would fare on his own.

Imperious: McIlroy saw off the challenge of Bradley

Imperious: McIlroy saw off the challenge of Bradley

Captain marvel: Olazabal holds aloft the Ryder Cup

Captain marvel: Olazabal holds aloft the Ryder Cup

Back in the lobby, a few groupie fans
were moaning they hadn’t seen him leave. Maggie Budzar, manning the
transportation desk for the PGA of America, made up a white lie that he
had left but noticed his name had not been crossed off the list. She
phoned the course to see if he was there but was told he was not. She
rang the European Tour to alert them.

After ignoring a couple of calls from
numbers he didn’t recognise, McIlroy eventually answered one from his
manager, Conor Ridge.

‘Are you at the course’ asked Conor.

‘No, I’m not,’ replied McIlroy.

‘You’re teeing off in 25 minutes.’

‘No, I’m not, it’s an hour and 25.’

‘You’re taking the mick, you’re at the golf course.’

‘No, I’m not.’

‘Rory, listen to me, you need to get there.’

So it was that McIlroy sprinted into the lobby and found the state trooper who might have been the American star of the final day. With the emergency light on and every speed limit broken, McIlroy sat in the patrol car on the edge of panic.

‘It would have been bad enough missing my tee-time playing for myself but letting down all my team-mates and the whole of Europe I’ve never been so worried in my life,’ he confessed.

Bradley, a nice guy under that scarily intense demeanour, was worried McIlroy had been involved in an accident or had received bad news from home. They shared a laugh when McIlroy explained the real story.

Late arrival: McIlroy is greeted by Bradley at the first tee

Late arrival: McIlroy is greeted by Bradley at the first tee

Then the chanting began. McIlroy liked the one on the first tee: ‘Rory where are you Your tee-time is right now.’

But he soon grew tired of people
shouting at him and pointing to their watches. ‘/10/01/article-2211371-15494B58000005DC-876_634x366.jpg” width=”634″ height=”366″ alt=”Domino effect: Donald won the first point of the day against Watson” class=”blkBorder” />

Domino effect: Donald won the first point of the day against Watson

The miracle according to Twitter…

JUSTIN ROSE
@JustinRose99

‘No messing tonight!’

One of Europe’s star performers gets ready to party after tweeting a picture of the personalised bottles of champagne presented to the team

IAN POULTER
@IanJamesPoulter

‘On the plane on the way back to Orlando, why does it feel like we just robbed a bank. Not sure how long it will to take to sink in.’

The man of the tournament feeling slightly quilty after Europe’s smash and grab

RORY McILROY
@McIlroyRory

‘Wow!!!!!!! Did that just happen!!!! Unbelievable performance from all the boys today! Seve…..This one is for you!’

The world No 1 dedicates Europe’s win to the late, great Seve Ballesteros

PHIL NEVILLE
@fizzer18

‘Morning all, struggled sleeping after watching the Ryder cup last night, got to be the best sporting event on tv it never lets u down!’

The Everton star on a dramatic night

BUBBA WATSON
@bubbawatson

‘Wow! What a finish. Congrats to Europe! Seve would be proud.’

Bubba shows true dignity in defeat, while still managing to display his patriotic devotion

MICHAEL OWEN
@themichaelowen

‘Greatest Sporting Year ever Tour De France, Olympics, Champions League, epic end to Premiership, Andy Murray, Ryder Cup, just to name a few.’

Owen reflects on a memorable year

Rose, however, felt great and was
playing as such. He took an early two-hole lead as Europe got the start
they wanted. But it all started to change around the turn. He started
losing holes and his rhythm.

The crowd could sense his discomfort.
At the 12th he was facing a difficult bunker shot and was just taking
the club back when the Hannibal Lecter noises – hard to describe if you
haven’t seen the film, but suffice to say, very unpleasant if you’re
trying to play a shot – disrupted his concentration. An appalled
Mickelson pointed out the perpetrator to a marshal.

‘Are we all settled now’ asked Rose of the crowd.

‘It was really a gut check at that point,’ he added. ‘After that it became a battle and a test of how badly I wanted to win.’

The Americans had been banging on about this being the start of a Bradley-McIlroy rivalry and the pair will unquestionably have more duels in the future. But a rivalry at the top of the world rankings There’s no chance. McIlroy is head and shoulders above anyone else in golf and probably half an upper torso ahead of the valiant Bradley.

So it was that class told and McIlroy followed Donald, the admirable Paul Lawrie and the incredible Poulter in putting points on the board.

The trouble was, Dustin Johnson was beating Nicolas Colsaerts and Mickelson was standing over an eight-foot putt for a birdie at the par-four 15th, with Rose plugged in the bunker in two. It looked for all the world that Rose would be two down with three to play, but a fabulous bunker shot rescued a par and Mickelson missed his short birdie.

‘I dodged a bullet right there, no question about it,’ said Rose.

Mickelson got over his disappointment by holing a great 12-foot putt for par at the 16th. Now Rose was staring over one from 10 feet for a half. He holed it and let out an exultant cry. ‘The first big putt I’d holed all week,’ he said.

Walking to the 17th tee, he was thinking to himself that in normal circumstances he would have taken a halved match in a heartbeat.

‘I knew there was nothing normal about
this,’ he said. ‘I knew I had to win my match. /10/01/article-2211371-1548F8A5000005DC-687_634x388.jpg” width=”634″ height=”388″ alt=”Thriller: Mickelson (right) and Rose played out a thrilling match” class=”blkBorder” />

Thriller: Mickelson (right) and Rose played out a thrilling match

Both players were just over the green at the 17th, with Mickelson to play first. The man with the imperious short game had the flag taken out and thought his chip was going in until it veered off at the death. Then it was Rose, standing over a putt from 35 feet.

‘How often do they go in Once every 25 tries But I knew I’d hit a good putt and it was a fantastic feeling when it went in,’ said Rose.

So to the 18th, where Mickelson was left with a short putt for par and Rose had a 15-foot birdie effort to complete an improbable victory.

‘My legs were shaking so hard I could hardly feel them, but that putt told me putting is about heart and that if you’re strong enough in the head, it will override how your body is feeling,’ said Rose.

Champagne moment: Justin Rose tweeted a picture of the individual bottles handed to each player

Champagne moment: Justin Rose tweeted a picture of the individual bottles handed to each player

Champagne moment: Justin Rose tweeted a picture of the individual bottles handed to each player

‘When it went in, I looked at the Seve logo on my sleeve and thought of him. I was overjoyed. I turned to my team-mates in ecstasy but then I saw Phil and I didn’t want to rub it in his face. So there was a moment of calm out of respect as I shook his hand, and then it was joy.’

Rose’s gloriously unlikely victory was the sort that had to happen for a European success. Another came when Sergio Garcia, who had been outplayed by Jim Furyk, was the beneficiary as the American lost his nerve. Lee Westwood showed his mental strength to put two awful days behind him and claim a point against Matt Kuchar.

The home side were under unbearable pressure now. For them, it all came down to the two men who they thought would prove their most dependable partnership. First up was Steve Stricker. If he didn’t win, it didn’t matter what Tiger Woods did in the bottom match.

Standing opposite him was Kaymer. In the end it came down to that five-foot putt and Kaymer could not help but think of the eerie symmetry as he surveyed it from all angles. He could not help but recall that the only other Ryder Cup player from Germany had found himself in exactly the same situation.

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

Magic moment: Kaymer is mobbed by his team-mates after sinking the winning putt

For just a moment, he thought: ‘Oh no, it can’t be another German missing this putt, can it’
There is a reason why some players win majors and others who are equally gifted fall short, and it comes down to moments like this. Kaymer’s putt never looked like finishing anywhere but the middle of the hole.

So that was the story of Medinah and the final day of the Ryder Cup on September 30, 2012. A day fit to compare with any in even the rich and dramatic history of this unrivalled contest.

When it was over, the recriminations for the Americans began. But this was more about the team who lived up to their mentor Seve Ballesteros’s maxim never to give in, rather than the side who didn’t get the job done.

This was about men like McIlroy, Rose and Kaymer and their wildly exciting journeys to scale the summit of their sport.

History makers: Europe celebrating completing the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback

History makers: Europe celebrating completing the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback

History makers: Europe celebrating completing the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback