IN conditions described as “brutal” the Internationals have fought back to trail the Americans by just two points after a hot and windy day at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
The US Team now leads by 7 to 5 after the day finished three games all.
Royal Melbourne really turned it on with a hot gusty northerly wind and rock hard greens making birdies from 24 of the world’s best players a rarity.
“It was awesome,” said Phil Mickelson, who won his match with partner Jim Furyk against Adam Scott and K.T. Kim 2UP on the 17th hole.
“We’ll never see something like this on an everyday golf course. We’ll never see that. We rarely see it in a major.”
“To have green speeds over 14 with wind blowing 15, 25 miles an hour, that was incredible; to have to read the wind of a putt more so than the break? That’s pretty cool. Provided that your score really doesn’t count, which it doesn’t here, because it’s match play. That’s why it’s so fun.”
“If you have that situation in a U.S. Open or a British Open, we would probably curse. But it was so much fun today because you’ve got a partner that you can rely on in best ball format and I thought we had a good time.”
Royal Melbourne “local” Geoff Ogilvy agreed Royal Melbourne was playing as tough as it ever gets.
Ogilvy sunk a pressure four foot putt on the 18th for a wildly received 1UP win with KJ Choi over Bill Haas and Nick Watney.
With the team captains, assistants, wives and thousands of others watching the Ogilvy putt the Presidents Cup atmosphere is really starting to build.
In the other matches Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson had a 3 & 1 win over Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa, Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day went right down to the wire with a 1UP win over Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker won comfortably 4 & 3 over Robert Allenby and YE Yang, and Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel beat Hunter Mahan and David Toms 2 & 1.
“Well from my perspective and my team’s perspective, we are extremely pleased with the end result today,” Internationals captain Greg Norman said.
“We were looking for a long time like being 4 – 2 again. We are extremely proud of the way Aaron Baddeley bounced back from yesterday. I know he was kind of gut wrenched a little bit by what happened on the 18th, but to see what he did, holing that 3 1/2 footer for a win on the last hole did him a world of good, did the team a world of good and followed up by Geoff Ogilvy doing what he did and holing the same length putt, just as difficult, really helped us generate a lot of momentum.
“We got a huge amount of confidence in the room right now. Yesterday took it out of us; today, we got it back again, with a little bit more energy and gusto in us this evening.”
US captain said the conditions were brutal with few holes won with birdies.
“It was a very exciting day,” Couples said. “I think I’m proud of all 24 players as a witness to this. It was not much fun out there, I’m sure, for any of them. Obviously there were three teams that won on each side, so they had fun. But it was brutal.
“Our team, we didn’t lose ground. We still have a two point lead. So any time, any slot time you can do that in six matches, I think we’re fine with all that.”
Saturday will be an epic day for all with foursomes in the morning and best ball in the afternoon.
“We know tomorrow is a big day for us and we know tomorrow the International side is going to come out gunning for us,” Mickelson said, “[to] try to get some momentum and gain ground heading into the singles [on Sunday].
Pairings for Saturday Morning Forsomes
Here are the pairings for the five Presidents Cup foursomes (alternate ball) matches that will be played Saturday morning at Royal Melbourne.
Five four-ball (best-ball) matches will follow in the afternoon, with the captains announcing their pairings on Saturday morning at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time.
The U.S. will take a 7-5 advantage going into Day 3.
Pairings listed in order of announcement, with the captains alternating selections. Tee off from 7am.
MATCH 13 – Robert Allenby-Geoff Ogilvy, International vs. Webb Simpson-Bubba Watson, U.S.
MATCH 14 – Bill Haas-Matt Kuchar, U.S. vs. Ernie Els-Ryo Ishikawa, International
MATCH 15 – Retief Goosen-Charl Schwartzel, International vs. Hunter Mahan-David Toms, U.S.
MATCH 16 – Tiger Woods-Dustin Johnson, U.S. vs. Adam Scott-K.J. Choi, International
MATCH 17 – Aaron Baddeley-Jason Day, International vs. Jim Furyk-Phil Mickelson, U.S.
Not playing – Steve Stricker (U.S.), Nick Watney (U.S.), K.T. Kim (International), Y.E. Yang (International)