March 20, 2018

U.S. pummel Internationals in march toward Presidents Cup

01 October 2017, 12:41 | Kristopher Drake

U.S. pummel Internationals in march toward Presidents Cup

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The US took a big step towards to a seventh successive Presidents Cup win by taking an 8-2 lead at the halfway stage over the worldwide team. With the United States entering Saturday with a 8-2 edge over the Internationals, Steve Stricker's squad could conceivably win the Cup without needing the singles slate on Sunday.

The task won't be easy, though, as Spieth has never lost a foursomes match in the Presidents Cup (4-0-0).

The lone highlight of the Internationals day came from Adam Hadwin and Hideki Matsuyama who were able to avoid the whitewash by splitting the point with Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.

World Number 1 Johnson caught fire on the back 9 and wrapped up the match for the US on the 16th winning 3 & 2.

South African duo Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen secured the only contribution for the visitors, halving their match against Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler.

The Americans have a 11 1/2-2 1/2 points lead on the International Team heading into Saturday afternoons quartet of four-ball (select ball) matches.

Needing to mount an early charge to battle back into contention, the global team instead got the day off to a foreboding start when Leishman sent his opening tee shot into the water in the alternate shot event handing Spieth and Reed a 1-up lead. It will take a total miracle from an global team that was already overwhelming underdogs before a ball was struck. A birdie on the par-3 16th by Kuchar and Johnson gave them a lead that the pair carried home with pars on the final two holes.

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It looked a little awkward, though Mickelson did slightly better than when he cropped most of his face out of a selfie he took during the opening ceremony with the last three USA presidents.

The U.S. have won nine of 11 Presidents Cups, including the last six from the worldwide team, comprised of players from the rest of the world except Europe. "They came into this event riding a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence, and they really get excited to play these team events and it's showing". Matsuyama ran off three birdies on the front nine for a 2-up lead at the turn, and Hadwin's birdie at the 13th restored the lead to 2 up.

Hoffman and Chappell are Presidents Cup rookies and promptly earned a point.

Absolutely, we say, and as worldwide captain Nick Price pointed out, only 10 of the possible 30 points have been accounted for after the initial foursomes and four-ball sessions.

"They made a lot of putts on the back nine to halve holes", Thomas said.

In amongst that he virtually left Schwartzel one-out against the Americans with a string of bad shots. Meanwhile, Stricker smartly rolled out the duo of Spieth and Reed, who always step up when they're wearing the colors of Team USA. The ensuing birdie would get the match back to All Square with just two holes to go. Vegas birdied the next hole from 35 feet, and that's when Johnson took over.

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