South Korean rookie Im Sung-jae defeated the reigning US Open champion Gary Woodland in the singles match at the Presidents Cup on Sunday, though Im's effort wasn't enough to get his International Team over the hump.
Powered by a back-nine charge at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Im beat the American veteran 4 & 3 for his third win in five matches in his first Presidents Cup appearance.
The biennial Presidents Cup pits a team of non-European international golfers against Americans in match play. And despite Im's big win, the International Team ended up losing to the US 16-14.
Im and Cameron Smith of Australia were the only International Team members to win their singles matches Sunday. There were four ties, and six other International Team golfers, including another South Korean rookie An Byeong-hun, lost Sunday.
A win is worth one point and a tie is good for half a point.
The International Team took a 10-8 lead into Sunday but couldn't hold on for what would have been just their second victory in Presidents Cup history.
Of the 13 Presidents Cups so far, the US has now won 11. The lone International victory came in 1998 at the same Royal Melbourne Golf Cup, and the 2003 event in South Africa ended in a tie.
Against Woodland, Im sank a 10-foot eagle putt at the par-5 second hole to throw down the gauntlet. Woodland tied things up with a birdie at the fifth and won the next hole to take a 1-up lead.
Im answered with a birdie at the ninth, and the match was all tied once again. Im retook the lead with a par at the 11th and then won three consecutive holes, starting at the 13th, to finish off Woodland.
Im went 3-1-1 (wins-losses-ties) in his Presidents Cup debut.
An, a last-minute injury replacement for Australian star Jason Day, lost to Webb Simpson 2 & 1. An never once held a lead against the 2012 US Open champion and finished his first Presidents Cup with a 1-2-2 record.