The Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia has seen a last minute attempt in day two’s foursomes from the United States that has seen them stay within three points of the International team.
After being in the lead overnight by 4-1, the International team stayed in front for the five matches at the prestigious The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, finishing the day winners at 5-1.
And although the International Team are still in the lead, the United States seems to have the momentum going forward.
However both teams exchanged points before United States’ Justin Thomas and captain Tiger Woods won another match in the competition.
Friday’s final match was halved, leaving the score 6½-3½.
Speaking afterwards, self chosen wildcard Woods said “at one point it looked pretty bleak, but the guys turned it around. They played phenomenal coming in.
It was important for us to end the way we did and it totally changed the last hour.
The energy has been there. These guys are all young and extremely excited about being part of this team.
I think more than anything, it’s just getting a feel for this golf course. It is fast.”
On the second day Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson were beaten 3&2 by International’s Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen in their first foursomes match.
However Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay were able to gain a much needed point to earn the United States a 1UP victory over Joaquin Niemann and Adam Hadwin yet the International team’s lead was restored to four points thanks to Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer beating Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed with a 3&2 win.
Afterwards Cantlay commented that “it was a hard-fought match all day. We played really well, both sides. Fortunately we came out on top. That putt was just a little right-to-left and really fast, so just had to get it started.”
After only claiming a single point during the opening day, Woods and Thomas managed to beat Hideki Matsuyama and An Byeong-hun with a 1UP victory.
Im Sung-jae and Cameron Smith were up again United States’ Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler for the final match and ended with the game being halved therefore enabling the U.S. to steal a half-point from the Internationals.
“Momentum is huge,” Woodland said. “That was a huge half-point. Any time you can scrape out something; we did it. Now we have to regroup. We have 36 ahead of us tomorrow and hopefully go out and flip this a little bit.”
International captain Ernie Els commented that “they (the US) played good at the end there. But hey, look at the record we’ve had in the foursomes the last 25 years and for us to come out 2½-2½ in the session is like a win for us. We would have taken that at the start of the day.”
On Saturday morning Woods opted to not play himself during the fourball matches and instead played Rickie Fowler alongside Justin Thomas, commenting:
“That was kind of the game plan. It would be hard for me to go all the sessions. I’ve been fortunate enough to go out there with JT (Justin Thomas) and we’ve got two points.
JT played great and Rickie [Fowler] played awesome this afternoon. They have been looking forward to playing with one another and they have had success before, and send them back out.”
Although Woods did go on to comment that he knew he would be “stressed out watching these guys play.”
Mark Leishman and China’s Haotong Li – who is making his tournament debut after Ernie Els had dropped him for the first few days – will be playing against Thomas and Fowler.
While session winner Adam Scott will partner An Byeong-hun who both play against Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar.
And after winning their foursomes match on Friday, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay will be taking on Abraham Ancer and Sungjae Im.
Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed are hoping to end their losing streak playing against CT Pan and Hideki Matsuyama. Recently, many fans have been questioning Woods’ choice of pairing however he has defended his decision saying:
“They have done all the little things right. It’s just a matter of having things go your way, and that’s part of playing these team sessions. You know, a putt here, a shot here or there, or you just get outplayed, it happens. But these guys have paired up really well. They are excited about being with one another, and they have handled everything extremely well.
Unfortunately, they just haven’t won points.”
With points being the main purpose of any competition many in America are hoping they will start to win some, particularly with the International Team potentially looking at an end to their run of defeats after losing the last eight biennial competitions.
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