Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. kept its two-point lead in golf’s Presidents Cup after splitting today’s six four-ball matches with the International squad as Tiger Woods slipped to his second straight defeat.
The Americans, who had led 4-2 after the opening foursomes, went 6-2 up at Royal Melbourne before the Internationals won three of the last four matchups to make it 7-5 heading into tomorrow’s double session. The first team to 17 1/2 points wins the 34-match contest.
“To me it was looking like a 4-2 again and that would have been a big hole we left ourselves in,” International team captain Greg Norman said in a televised interview. “I’m extremely proud of the boys.”
Woods, who won all five of his Presidents Cup matches to lead the U.S. to victory in 2009, fell to his first 0-2 start in the biennial competition which pits a team of 12 Americans against 12 non-European golfers. The U.S. is seeking its fourth straight win, while Royal Melbourne was the site of the International squad’s only victory in 1998.
Aaron Baddeley, playing with fellow Australian Jason Day, made a 3-foot putt for par on the 18th hole to secure the victory over Dustin Johnson and 14-time major champion Woods, who is the only U.S. player to not have won a point through the first two days.
Baddeley and Day rebounded after blowing a three-hole lead over Johnson and Matt Kuchar on day one to finish all square.
‘Means a Lot’
“This means a lot,” Baddeley said in a televised interview. “I feel like I let Jason down yesterday because he played great all day. It was great to come through today and make a good putt on the last to win.”
The International squad also won the only other match to finish on the final hole today as Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy closed out a 1-up victory for him and partner K.J. Choi of South Korea over Bill Haas and Nick Watney, who left a 20-foot putt to halve the match inches short. South African duo Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel knocked off Americans David Toms and Hunter Mahan 2-and-1, meaning they had a unassailable two-hole lead with one hole remaining.
Rookie U.S. pairing Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson picked up their second straight win over South Africa’s Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, while Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk beat Australia’s Adam Scott and K.T. Kim of South Korea 2-and-1 for their second victory.
Kuchar and Steve Stricker beat Robert Allenby of Australia and South Korea’s Y.E. Yang 4-and-3.
Five foursomes and five four-ball matches are scheduled tomorrow and the event closes Nov. 20 with 12 singles matchups.
The foursomes feature two golfers from each team playing alternate shots with the same ball. The lowest score wins the hole, and the match goes to the pair with the most holes won. Four-balls has two players from each squad hitting their own ball and the lowest score of the four wins the hole.
The Presidents Cup was created by the U.S. PGA Tour in 1994 to give foreign players not eligible for the Ryder Cup a chance to compete against the U.S.
“We hung in there,” U.S. captain Fred Couples said in a televised interview. “We won three points. We did not lose any ground and we’re still up by two. I like where we sit.”
--Editor: Benjamin Purvis
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