Tiger puts US in full control
Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar (AFP)
COLUMBUS, Oct 06, 2013 (AFP) -Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar won twice Saturday to stay unbeaten as the United States seized a 11 1/2-6 1/2 lead over the Internationals at the storm-hit Presidents Cup.
Top-ranked Woods and Kuchar edged Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Australian Adam Scott 1-up in four-ball to stand 3-0 in the golf showdown at soggy Muirfield Village.
The Americans, who went 4-1 Saturday in four-ball and 2-2 in foursome matches interrupted by a Friday storm, need only six of 16 points available Sunday to win the trophy for the fifth time in a row and go 8-1-1 in the rivalry.
"It's not over," Internationals captain Nick Price said. "We've still got a lot of golf to play."
Woods, a 14-time major winner who took five titles and the Player of the Year award this season, has a record 23 Presidents Cup match wins but is fatigued.
"Tiger is honestly beat up. But Tiger is playing his tail off," US captain Fred Couples said. "He's a little sore and a little battered and this course, the ball is not rolling, it's playing much harder and much longer so it's tougher on everybody."
Heavy rain drenched the course for a third day in a row, pushing the end of four foursomes matches to Sunday with 12 concluding singles matches moved to Sunday morning to try and escape expected afternoon storms.
In the only afternoon foursome match to finish, Jason Dufner eagled the par-5 15th for a 4 and 3 victory for him and Zach Johnson over Australian Marc Leishman and South Africa's Richard Sterne.
Two down after seven, they won six of the last eight holes.
"What turned it around was... Duf-daddy got the radar locked on three or four shots," Johnson said.
The Internationals led in two suspended matches and the US team in one with the other level as darkness fell.
"We've still got our work cut out for us," Couples said.
The Internationals need 11 wins in 16 matches to win.
"We're going to have a hell of a day tomorrow," Price said.
Golfers used lift, clean and place rules and played in torrential showers before a 90-minute delay after rain flooded bunkers and greens and made rivers of fairways.
"When you've got 36 holes in one day and you've got rain delays, that's a whole new story," Price said. "This is 36 holes of intense pressure for these guys. It's the end of the season and they are tired."
Woods, a five-time winner of the US PGA Memorial event played at Muirfield Village, and reigning Memorial champion Kuchar finished a 4-and-2 foursomes win over South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen before facing Matsuyama and Masters champion Scott.
Matsuyama won two of the first three holes with birdies but Woods two of the next three with birdies. Matsuyama sank a five-foot par putt to win 10 but Woods responded with a birdie to win 13, Kuchar birdied 14 and Woods had an eagle conceded at the par-5 15th for a 2-up US edge.
"This guy is a horse. I was along for the ride," Kuchar said of Woods. "He played some incredible golf."
Matsuyama won the 16th with a 12-foot birdie but Kuchar, whose first birdie came at 11, birdied 18 to end it.
"We made a little run and then Hideki made a bomb on 16 to make it a little interesting," Woods said.
The overall 7 1/2-3 1/2 US edge in four-ball marks the first time in 17 years of Ryder or Presidents Cup play that the Americans led scoring in that format.
Reigning British Open champion Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley edged South African Ernie Els and Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge 2 and 1.
Two-down after seven holes, Mickelson birdied eight and Bradley birdied nine to equalize. Mickelson birdied 12th and 13th, Bradley birded 15, and they halved 17 to end it.
"We played so good," Bradley said.
"We hung in there and we were able to turn it around. That was a big win."
Aussie Jason Day, a member at Muirfield Village, and Canada's Graham DeLaet beat Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth 2-up.
Stricker sank a four-foot birdie putt to win the par-3 12th and equalize but DeLaet answered with a birdie at the par-3 16th and Day birdied 18 to seal victory.
Bill Haas and Webb Simpson never trailed in downing Argentina's Angel Cabrera and South African Branden Grace 4 and 3 while Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker never trailed in beating Schwartzel and Oosthuizen 2-up.
In suspended matches, Day and DeLaet were level with Mickelson and Bradley after 13 holes; Oosthuizen and Schwartzel led Simpson and Snedeker 3-up after 12; Haas and Stricker led Scott and Matsuyama 2-up after 10 and Els and de Jonge led Woods and Kuchar 2-up after nine.