Americans 4 points ahead at Presidents Cup
Melbourne, Australia – The International team staged a bit of ball matches, but the U.S. will take a commanding point lead into the Sunday singles at The Presidents Cup.
The Internationals won three of the five four-ball matches Saturday at a rainy Royal Melbourne. However, the U.S. will take a 13-9 lead into the 12 singles matches Sunday.
The U.S. has lost the singles only once in the history of this competition. The Americans need 17 1/2 points to win the Cup, so the Internationals have a tall order if they are to win the Presidents Cup for a second time.
Fred Couples' American side won four of the five foursomes matches Saturday morning, but the Internationals rallied in the four balls. At one point, they had the lead in three matches and the other two were all-square, but the U.S. team staged a comeback of its own in the last two matches.
The anchor match was a battle and the International tandem of Adam Scott and Ernie Els got it to 1-down against Jim Furyk and Nick Watney after a win at 15.
Scott had 10 feet for birdie and the win at the 17th, but missed left. He had 26 feet at the last to earn a halve and cut the overall margin to three, but his putt never threatened the hole.
Tiger Woods got his first victory Saturday morning in foursomes, but couldn't match the feat in the afternoon.
He and Dustin Johnson, 3 & 2 winners in the morning's foursomes, lost to Kyung-tae Kim and Y.E. Yang, 1-up. Woods burned the edge on several putts and played decently, while Johnson couldn't make a putt.
Kim drained a long birdie putt at the 15th and Woods and Johnson both had chances at the last to earn a halve. Johnson missed his 22-footer, then Woods had 16 feet for birdie. His putt never reached the hole, then Kim, a 25-year- old South Korean, stepped up and drained a five-footer for par to give his side the full point.
After Kim and Yang upset Woods and Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas secured the first full point for the U.S. with a 2 & 1 victory over the Australian duo of Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day.
The Americans were 2-up in the penultimate match when Day holed a 30-foot birdie putt at 16 to put the pressure on the U.S. Haas was in pretty close, but Mahan rolled in a 15-footer, then slammed the club down in excitement.
It was some sweet redemption for Mahan. He was in the last match on the course last year at the Ryder Cup and duffed a chip shot at the 17th hole of singles. He lost to Graeme McDowell and that allowed Europe to win the Ryder Cup.
Around the same time Mahan closed out Day and Baddeley, K.J. Choi and Geoff Ogilvy got another point for the International squad. They bested Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar, 1-up.
For the first time all week, the American leadoff team of Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson couldn't get it done. They were 3-0 heading into the four balls, but fell to Retief Goosen and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, 2 & 1.
MORE TO FOLLOW.