The United States maintained their lead in the President’s Cup matches thanks in part to two remarkable comebacks against the top player in the world. The Americans lead the International team 9 ½ to 8 ½ heading into Sunday’s (Saturday night in the U.S.) singles matches. The matches are being played near Seoul, South Korea.
Heading into the morning round of alternating shot matches, the U.S. clung to a 5 ½ to 4 ½ lead. The gap remained the same after those 5 matches, but that does not tell the story.
Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler won their match for the U.S. while Brendan Grace and Louis Oosthuizen won for the Internationals. Two halved matches provided the most drama.
Bubba Watson missed a short putt on 18 that would have given Watson and his partner, J.B. Holmes, a victory against Adam Scott and Mark Leishman. Handed a chance to take the overall lead, perhaps a seminal moment and a preview of the afternoon round occurred.
The top-ranked player in the world, the International’s Jason Day, playing with Charl Schwartzel, were dominating the top U.S. team of Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.
Day and Schwarzel were up by three holes at one point and by two on the back nine. With the match now tied on the final hole, Day took two shots to get out of a fairway bunker.
That led to a bogey for Day and Schwarzel. When Spieth rolled in a par putt, the Americans retained their one-point lead, 7 ½ to 6 1/2.
At the start of the afternoon round of best ball matches, the International team got off to a quick start, at one point leading three of the four matches. As the matches neared the halfway point, the Americans made a charge.
Spieth and his partner Patrick Reed trailed Day and Schwarzel by three holes at one point. Led by Spieth, who made 9 birdies in the match, the Americans turned things around and won 3 and 2. Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson also won for the U.S. to split the afternoon matches.
Sunday’s 12 singles matches provide some interesting matchups, topped by The (British) Open Champion Zach Johnson paired against Day. Mickelson faces Schwarzel while Spieth, Number 2 in the world, plays against Leishman.
The matches begin at 8:15 p.m. EDT on the Golf Channel.