ERNIE ELS’ Presidents Cup International Team looked to have a commanding lead going into the weekend before a late rally by Tiger Woods’ Americans saw the overall score finish at 6.5 to 3.5.
At stages the Internationals were looking like a clean sweep for the day was up for grabs and after their first pairing of the morning, Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen, fought back to win after being down for the first 8 holes the signs were really positive.
Scott sunk a pressure putt on the 16th for a 3&2 win over Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, and just a little while later in the day’s third match, Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer, equalled that score and made the overall result 6 to 1.
But the wheels started falling off the Internationals with Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (2nd grouping) , who were 1-down on 14, birdieing the 18th for a 1UP win.
Then playing captain Tiger Woods sunk a birdie putt on 18 to win 1Up with Justin Thomas and birthday boy Rickie Fowler sunk a pressure par putt on 18 to tie his match with Gary Woodland against Cameron Smith and Sunjae Im.
That put the overall score going into the weekend 6.5 to 3.5, which both sides claimed later as a win – of sorts.
The Americans claimed they could have been much worse of but with their late pressure play now had the momentum, while the Internationals say at the start of the week they would gladly have accepted that score.
The fact is, International teams have rarely done well in the foursomes, and have only led twice after day 2 in the 25 year history of the cup – in 1998 when they won and in 2005 when they didn’t.
Saturday will start out with four Fourball matches starting at 7.02am then four foursomes in the afternoon. Sunday sees 12 singles matches and, hopefully, the Internationals second Presidents Cup victory.
Marc Leishman was blunt with his review of the day: “….I don’t think you get momentum with two putts. We played pretty well the first two sessions.”
“Yes, today probably didn’t finish off the way we wanted to but we still halved the session. We know it’s 18 holes matches and you have to be right there at the end. They made a couple putts at an important time, but if they feel that [that the US has the momentum going into Saturday], that’s great. We probably don’t feel that way, so, yeah.
Classic line from @camsmithgolf to the @PresidentsCup media on his observations after having to watch from the sidelines on Day 1: “I couldn’t believe how long golf took while you’re watching it!” pic.twitter.com/tHUick5M3d
— Brian O’Hare (@asgolfer1) December 13, 2019