A RECORD-EQUALLING win for Phil Mickelson helped the United States seize an unprecedented second-day lead towards a floundering International group on the Presidents Cup.
With an 8-2 lead over captain Nick Price’s Internationals, the Americans are greater than midway to the 15.5 factors they should win the biennial match play competitors for a 10th time.
Mickelson, the one man to look in all 12 Presidents Cups, rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th gap to seal a 1-up victory with Kevin Kisner over Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman.
The United States received 4 and halved one other of the day’s 5 fourball matches at Liberty National Golf Club, thwarting the Internationals’ bid to bounce again from a two-point opening day deficit.
“A really special day for us,” stated US captain Steve Stricker. The Americans’ six-point lead is the most important ever held after two days of the competitors, which sees 30 factors up for grabs over 4 days.
The US had led by 5 factors on the similar stage in three prior editions, most just lately in 2007.
With a 24th Presidents Cup match win, Mickelson tied the report held by Tiger Woods — who was watching on the 18th inexperienced in his function as an assistant captain.
Leishman and Day had led from the opening gap by way of the 14th earlier than Kisner squared the match with a birdie at 15 — setting the stage for Mickelson’s heroics.
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Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman — two Presidents Cup rookies — set the tone for the United States, thumping Charl Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri 6 & 5 within the first match to complete.
Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas then delivered a stinging three & 2 victory over the International powerhouse duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.
The two South Africans had received 4 matches on the 2015 Cup, and offered the lone victory for the Internationals on Thursday.
For a time on Friday it appeared just like the Internationals might be turning issues round, main early in three matches.
“They just have a lot of fight in them,” Stricker stated. “They hit some great shots, made some key putts when they had to.. When that momentum gets on your side, you can feel it as a team, and I think that’s what you saw today.”
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed rallied to halve their match with Japanese world quantity three Hideki Matsuyama and Canadian Adam Hadwin.
‘A LOT OF GOLF LEFT’
Matsuyama and Hadwin had been 2-up with 4 to play. Finally, nevertheless, they had been fortunate to flee with half some extent after Spieth barely missed birdie putts on the final two holes.
And world primary Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka pulled away on the again 9 to beat Aussie Adam Scott and Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas three & 2.
The US have received 9 of the 11 prior editions, with one ending in a draw. But after a slender one-point defeat within the 2015 version in South Korea, there was optimism that the Internationals might pull off the upset, and add a second title to the one they captured in 1998.
Price insisted it was nonetheless attainable.
“We’re only 10 points through 30,” he stated. “There’s 20 points left. There’s a lot of golf left.”
DAY three PAIRINGS
* Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth (US) vs Jason Day/Marc Leishman (International)
* Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar (US) vs Adam Scott/Adam Hadwin
* Phil Mickelson/Kevin Kisner (US) vs Jhonattan Vegas/Emiliano Grillo
* Justin Thomas/Rickie Fowler (US) vs Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace