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MELBOURNE, Australia – It appeared the International team would take a huge lead into Saturday’s double-session at the Presidents Cup, but the U.S. made key putts late to remain where it began the day. The two sides split Day 2 foursomes (alternate shot) and the Internationals lead by three points.
Here’s how the matches have played out at Royal Melbourne:
Friday foursomes: Internationals 2 ½, U.S. 2 ½
Total score: Internationals 6 ½, U.S. 3 ½
MATCH 6: Louis Oosthuizen-Adam Scott (INT) def. Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar (U.S.), 3 and 2
The Americans were 2 up after seven holes then completely fell apart. They made birdies early to get the lead but lost five holes with bogey. DJ hasn’t showed up yet in two matches. The Internationals played steady, but didn’t have to do much other than make pars to win. This set the early tone for the session.
MATCH 7: Xander Schauffele-Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) def. Adam Hadwin-Joaquin Niemann (INT), 1 up
Huge, huge, huge full point for the Americans. Came down to the last hole and Cantlay drained a 14-footer for birdie to win the hole and the match. Neither team held more than a 1-up advantage in what was the best match of the day even though eyes were focused on the bigger names.
MATCH 8: Marc Leishman-Abraham Ancer (INT) def. Webb Simpson-Patrick Reed (U.S.), 3 and 2
The Americans were 2 down late in the match when Reed made a shoveling-like gesture to a boisterous fan. He looked ridiculous, especially doing that while losing. Ancer continues to shine in his Presidents Cup debut winning both matches. He saved Oosthuizen in the first session and now pulled Leishman out of his funk. Impressive.
MATCH 9: Tiger Woods-Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Ben An-Hideki Matsuyama (INT), 1 up
Americans raced out to a 2-up lead after five holes then lost the next three straight holes to go 1 down. They never held another lead until Thomas drained a 17-footer for birdie on the last hole to win the hole and the match. Thomas and Woods went nuts in celebration and the full point gave the U.S. some life it desperately needed.
MATCH 10: Rickie Fowler-Gary Woodland (U.S.) vs. Sungjae Im-Cameron Smith (INT), tied
Last match on the course was another nail-biter. Internationals were 2 up after 15 holes, but two Americans birdies sent it to the last hole tied. There was drama as Im faced a 14-footer to win the match but missed. Fowler had to make a 5-footer for par to secure the tie. The session ended tied at 2 ½.
Day 1 fourballs: Internationals 4, U.S. 1
Total score: Internationals 4, U.S. 1
MATCH 1: Tiger Woods-Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Marc Leishman-Joaquin Niemann (INT), 4 and 3
This was the Woods Show as he single-handedly won the match for his team, making six birdies in 15 holes. It was effortless. Thomas did not play well but it didn’t matter. After being 3 down after five holes, the Internationals won the next two. Woods then birdied Nos. 11, 14 and 15 to end it. His chip-in on the fifth hole was epic.
MATCH 2: Adam Hadwin-Sungjae Im (INT) def. Xander Schauffele-Patrick Cantlay (U.S.), 1 up
The closest match of the session as neither team ever gained more than a 1-up advantage. It was tied through 15 holes, but the Americans lost the 16th hole because of a bogey that ultimately lost them the match. The Internationals were steady and kept the pressure on all day.
MATCH 3: Adam Scott-Ben An (INT) def. Bryson DeChambeau-Tony Finau (U.S.), 2 and 1
This match was back-and-forth until Scott made birdie on the ninth hole to move to 2 up. Finau birdied No. 12 to get back to 1 down, but the Americans bogeyed the next hole and were never able to mount a charge after that. Fittingly, Scott made par on the 17th hole to clinch the match in his homeland.
MATCH 4: Hideki Matsuyama-C.T. Pan (INT) def. Webb Simpson-Patrick Reed (U.S.), 1 up
Another close contest and the Americans battled to get back into a tie after Reed made birdie on the 16th hole. But Matsuyama bounced back on the next hole and drained a 25-footer for birdie to take the 1-up lead into the final hole. This was the final match on the course and it put the finishing touches on a 4-1 session victory for the Internationals.
To go 1 UP heading to the final hole …
… Hideki Matsuyama is CLUTCH. pic.twitter.com/Zwk3dlxWMM
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 12, 2019
MATCH 5: Abraham Ancer-Louis Oosthuizen (INT) def. Dustin Johnson-Gary Woodland (U.S.), 4 and 3
The shocker of the session, hands down. The Internationals were 4 up after five holes and cruised to the easy victory. The American duo, who everyone thought would easily prevail because of their power, was flat and underwhelming. Johnson hit a drive to 3 feet on the par-4 11th hole and missed the eagle putt and a chance to cut the lead to 2 down.