Friday, 20 October, 2017

United States on brink of winning Presidents Cup

Anirban Lahiri of India and the International Team plays a shot during practice rounds prior to the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City New Jersey United States on brink of winning Presidents Cup
Christy Curtis | 01 October, 2017, 01:44

Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, who impressed in their first Presidents Cup outing together Thursday (Friday in Manila), will face a tough challenge on Friday against global super-duo Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace. "These guys are going to come out fighting over the next two days and especially tomorrow".

Needing to mount an early charge to battle back into contention, the worldwide 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.

The International team's only success was in Australia in 1998.

Thomas led the charge over the back end of the match, with two big birdies.

"Yesterday, and then again today, losing the first two matches (it) would have been great if we could have posted a point with one of the first two matches, but you know, we've just got to keep plugging along".

With the sun setting over the Manhattan skyline, Phil Mickelson, who has played in every edition of the Presidents Cup, dropped a 12-foot birdie putt at the par three 18th to clinch a one-up victory for himself and partner Kevin Kisner over Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman, sparking wild cheers from his team mates and fans packed around the finishing hole.

Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, winners on Thursday, are teamed again for the USA on Friday, this time against Matsuyama and Canadian Adam Hadwin - who sat out Thursday.

After all, there are a set of foursomes in the morning followed by fourballs in the afternoon on Day 3.

Mickelson tied Tiger Woods for most matches won (24) in the Presidents Cup, and he did it in style.

It was a back-and-forth match until Day hit a tee shot on 12 that settled on a platform behind a scoreboard. Mickelson stuffed a wedge for a kick-in birdie on 15, and Kisner closed the show with a 7-footer on 17. Mickelson holed the putt, and Leishman missed.

Two of the American rookies who sat out in the opening session made a debut that lasted only 13 holes.

In amongst that he virtually left Schwartzel one-out against the Americans with a string of bad shots.

The Americans were unbeaten in fourballs, going 4-0-1.

Dustin Johnson, playing alongside Brooks Koepka, took control against Jhonattan Vegas and Adam Scott, the world number one making three birdies in the space of five holes on the back nine as they sealed a 3 and 2 victory.

On Day 1, Thomas - a five-time victor on the PGA Tour this season and the FedExCup champion - admitted to being nervous, but by the time he and partner Rickie Fowler wrapped up their match he'd emerged as the team's emotional spark.

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