Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas won the Payne’s Valley Cup
Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas claimed bragging rights over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose after an exciting finish to the Payne’s Valley Cup.
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The quartet competed in a 19-hole contest, played across three formats, to mark the opening of Payne’s Valley Golf Course at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri – the first public golf course designed by Woods’ TGR Design.
Team Europe won the first point after six holes of alternate shot and Team USA snatched a point in the foursomes, with Rose then beating Woods and Thomas defeating McIlroy in the singles.
Thomas birdied the 19th hole to win the match 2up against McIlroy
The 19th hole, nicknamed “Big Rock at Payne’s Valley”, doubled up as a nearest-the-pin decider to settle the contest after it finished in a 2-2- draw, with Thomas hitting the closest tee shot to secure a narrow victory for Team USA.
“I had a blast,” Woods said after the victory. “I’m just so proud for everyone who came together to make all this possible. Johnny [Morris] had the vision and I was lucky enough to be consulted on this and to have everyone here is awfully special for me.”
Check out the funniest conversations from the golfers who were mic’d up in the Payne’s Valley Cup, featuring Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and more!
Both European players made pars at the first, which was enough to win the hole due to Woods losing his ball off the tee, only for the Americans to win the next after McIlroy and Rose both made bogeys on the monster par-three.
McIlroy got up and down from off the green to birdie the driveable third, where Rose went out of bounds, before the Europeans doubled their advantage when Rose posted a two-putt birdie at the par-five next.
Justin Rose attempted to drive the green at the par-four third, only to leave his playing partners in stitches with his effort!
Thomas claimed bragging rights in the nearest-the-pin challenge at the par-three fifth but was unable to find a birdie, allowing Rose to get down in two and secure Europe their first point with a hole to spare.
Woods pipped McIlroy in a long-drive contest at the sixth and ended a run of halved holes by giving Team USA their first point of the day in the foursomes, flicking a wedge from the back of the 12th green to tap-in range after Thomas had driven the par-four green.
McIlroy won the opening hole of his singles match after Thomas failed to get up and down to save par, only for the four-time major champion to lip out on his next two holes and go inches away from holing out from the rough at the par-three 16th.
McIlroy experienced a number of near-misses during the singles against Thomas
Woods moved ahead with a birdie at the 13th but left an effort short from eight feet at the next, allowing Rose to save par and then pull back level by almost holing his tee shot at the 16th.
Thomas poured in a long-range birdie at the 17th and matched McIlroy’s gain at the par-five 18th, putting the American one ahead, while Rose got up and down from a greenside bunker to head to the 19th hole with a narrow advantage.
Rose (right) won the point to level the contest and take it to the nearest-the-pin tie-breaker
Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Aaron Stewart – the son of the late Payne Stewart – all joined the quarter for the par-three last, where Nicklaus and Player both found the green and came close with their birdie efforts.
Woods was unable to find a closing birdie, giving Rose and Europe the other point, while Thomas rolled in birdie try to complete a 2up victory over McIlroy and make the score 2-2.
All four tee shots were then used as a tie-breaker to determine a winner, with Thomas securing the victory for his team after knocking his tee shot to less than nine feet from the pin.