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Americans Enjoy Four-Point Lead Heading into Presidents Cup Singles
Though they lost three of the five afternoon four-ball matches, the Americans took advantage of their five-point lead from the morning foursomes to head into Sunday's singles with a 13 to 9 edge over the International team in the Presidents Cup. The biennial competition is taking place at Royal Melbourne Golf Club where, steady rains were felt all Saturday long.
In the first four-ball match, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson finally lost, falling to Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel 2 and 1. The American duo had gone 3-0 before this setback.
The Internationals took the next match too as I.K. Kim and Y.E. Yang got a 1-up victory over Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. In the third match, the momentum continued for the home course favorites as Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi beat Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar 1-up.
The Americans finally got rolling in the fourth match, with Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas beating Aussies Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day 2 and 1, and in the final match with Jim Furyk and Nick Watney vanquishing Ernie Els and Adam Scott 1-up
Led again by the tandem of Simpson and Watson, the U.S. won four of five foursome matches Saturday morning at Royal Melbourne Golf Club to extend their lead in the ninth Presidents Cup to 11 and 6 against the Internationals heading into the five afternoon four-ball (best-ball) matches.
On a rainy day in southeast Australia, the Americans weathered a tough course and tough opponents to run their margin from 7 to 5 starting the day thanks to victories by Simpson and Watson. Teeing off first for the third match in a row, the duo went 3-0 - earning three points - with a 3 and 2 win over Australians Robert Allenby and Ogilvy in the alternate-shot format.
Simpson, a 26-year-old from North Carolina, and his partner from Bagdad, Fla., birdied the first two holes to forge a quick 2-up lead. Thanks to birdies on the third and fifth holes, the Aussies got the match to all-square. A birdie by the Yanks on No. 8 gave them the lead again, but their opponents birdied the next to bring the match back to even. After a pair of pars on the next two holes, Simpson and Watson's bogey on the par-4 12th - against a double by Allenby and Ogilvy - gave them the lead that they never relinquished.
The only International victory of the morning came when Els of South Africa and Ryo Ishikawa eked out a 1-up victory over Haas and Kuchar in the second match thanks to clutch putts by the 20-year-old Japanese player on the final three holes.
The next three matches were all won by the Americans. Mahan and David Toms continued their fine play, beating South Africans Goosen and Schwartzel 5 and 4. The American duo beat South Koreans Kim and Yang in Thursday's foursomes 6 & 5 but lost Friday's four-ball to Goosen and Schwartzel 2 and 1 to earn two points for the U.S.
In the fourth match, Woods and Johnson edged Scott of Australia and Choi 3 and 2. The American duo sewed up the match with a birdie on the par-4 16th hole. It was the first point in this year's match secured by Woods, who went 5-0 in the 2009 Presidents Cup.
In the final match, the team of Phil Mickelson and Furyk waged a tight battle with Aussies Baddeley and Day. After getting a 1-up lead with a birdie on the par-4 13th hole, the Americans carded five birdies over their final seven holes, with Mickelson capping the 2 and 1 victory with a long, left-breaking birdie putt from above the hole to close out the match.
Mickelson and Furyk went 3-0 in their first three matches. Mickelson is sitting out the afternoon four-balls to rest up for Sunday's singles matches. Also not playing is Toms, another veteran. Sitting out for the Internationals are Allenby and Ishikawa.
For all the scoring, visit http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/presidentscup/scoring/2011/.
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