Americans take early Presidents Cup lead

Paola Ditto
Ottobre 1, 2017

The United States hold a commanding 8-2 lead at the halfway mark of the Presidents Cup after winning all but one of Friday's five four-ball matches.

Oosthuizen and Grace lost for the first time in six matches together at the Presidents Cup, and Oosthuizen lost for the first time since a Saturday foursomes match at Muirfield Village in 2013.

Justin Thomas, already with a big year behind him as a major champion and the FedEx Cup champion, teamed with Rickie Fowler for another easy victory.

It could have been even worse for the worldwide team as American veteran Phil Mickelson missed a six-foot putt at the final hole as he and partner Kevin Kisner halved with Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman. The Americans are out to another big lead in the event they haven't lost in almost two decades.

Mickelson's bag this week is expected to feature a GBB Epic Sub Zero Driver, GBB Epic Fairway Woods, new Callaway prototype Irons, an Odyssey Putter and a Chrome Soft ball. The Internationals went from staring a 6-4 score or better in the face to staring at the abyss. Even that felt like a small victory for the global team because Spieth had birdie putts on the final two holes that narrowly missed. The par-3 10th hole was so hard to judge the wind that Adam Scott hit a tee shot that sailed over the green into a hazard, while Spieth in the match behind him came up some 60 feet short of the hole in a bunker. Mickelson and Leishman hit their tee shots to about 12 feet. But two monster comebacks - first by Reed and Spieth and later by Mickelson and Kisner - flipped the entire day. Mickelson holed the putt, and Leishman missed.

The Americans have a 9-1-1 lead in the series, their lone loss in 1998 at Royal Melbourne a few weeks before Christmas.

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

That Thomas is just one of a number of fine players representing the United States is a measure of the challenge facing the visitors this week. Lahiri three-putted from 40 feet to lose the 12th, and Hoffman ended it with a birdie on the 13th.

In recent years, those fist-pumping moments have typically come from those donning the stars and stripes, as they've dominated the event. Vegas birdied the next hole from 35 feet, and that's when Johnson took over.

Just like the opening session, the matches looked as though they could go either way until the back nine.

The US won three of five foursomes matches, and halved another, to enjoy a 3-1/2 to 1-1/2 advantage in strong and gusty winds that made club selection hard.

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