Presidents Cup: Internationals retain three point lead after American fightback during Friday foursomes


An American fightback saw Friday's foursomes matches halved as the International side keep a three point lead heading in to the weekend of the Presidents Cup.

The International team will take a three point lead (6.5 - 3.5) in to the third day of the Presidents Cup after a dramatic fightback from the U.S side in Friday's foursomes matches.

Following their 4-1 victory in the opening session of the Presidents Cup, the Internationals looked to be in total control early on, at one point leading in all five matches of the first foursomes session as they raced to a 6-1 lead. 

But a spirited fightback from the U.S team, which included big moment putts from Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Rickie Fowler on the 18th hole, saw the U.S. team claw their way back in to the contest to gain 2.5 points. 

The most talked about moment of the day belonged to the winning combination of Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods (2-0-0 so far) with their double putter drop celebration at the last when they gained their second point of the day against Hideki Matsuyama and Byeong Hun An. 

But while the rally to get points on the board was impressive, the task remains a tall one for Captain Woods' side: There has only been one occasion in the history of the Presidents Cup where a team has come from behind to win after two sessions, which was by the U.S in 2005. 

3&2 (International Point): Adam Scott / Louis Oosthuizen def. Matt Kuchar / Dustin Johnson

After sitting out the opening match, Matt Kuchar partnered with Dustin Johnson (a team that have previous success), and looked to be on the front foot with birdies at the first and fifth to go 2UP. But momentum soon began to swing in favour of International veterans Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen, winning three of the next four holes with par to find themselves all-square at the turn. A birdie at the par four 11th put Scott and Oosthuizen ahead for the first time, and they won the 13th and 14th holes with pars to move to 3UP, ultimately closing out a 3&2 victory. 

1UP (USA Point): Patrick Cantlay / Xander Schauffele vs. Joaquin Niemann / Adam Hadwin

Undoubtedly the tightest contest of the day was the second match. On three occasions the International side got to 1UP on the front nine but immediately gave back that advantage to make the turn all-square. A birdie at the 10th for Cantlay and Schauffele soon moved the U.S team ahead for the first time all day, but that lead had reversed by the 14th, only for the U.S to peg it back to even with a birdie a hole later. It all came down to the last hole, and Cantlay saw in a 14-foot birdie putt for the victory, giving the USA their first point of the day. 

3&2 (International Point): Abraham Ancer / Marc Leishman def. Patrick Reed / Webb Simpson

Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson made a birdie at the first hole to gain the initial lead, but it was the only time they would be up in this match all day. Leishman and Ancer (who was particularly impressive) won the next two holes, and although they were briefly pulled back to all-square at the fourth, they immediately answered with their third birdie in four holes to regain the lead at the fifth. They won the 10th to move back to 2UP, and it was a hole later that Patrick Reed decided to respond to a heckler with a mime of him shovelling when he holed a putt to keep them at that score. The Internationals then got to 4UP at the 14th, and although Reed and Simpson got one back at 15, Leishman closed out the 3&2 win - which put the home side 6-1 up at the time. 

1UP (USA Point): Tiger Woods / Justin Thomas def. Hideki Matsuyama / Byeong Hun An

The winning combination Woods and JT got off to a hot start for the second time in this Presidents Cup as they won the fourth holes to earn an early 2UP lead, but they quickly found themselves down as the International side won three holes in a row from the sixth. They answered with a par at nine to level the match, but Matsuyama and An moved ahead for a second time at the 11th before they evened the score again with a birdie at the 13th. The teams traded pars for the next four holes, but some 18th green theatrics from Justin Thomas saw his 20 foot putt gain the USA their second point of the day. 

ALL-SQUARE: Cameron Smith / Sungjae Im halved match with. Rickie Fowler / Gary Woodland

Cameron Smith may not have been given the match-up with Reed we all wanted, but he still wowed the home crowds with a chip-in birdie at the first and 23-foot putt a the second to give the Internationals a 2UP lead. They remained out in front until the last few holes, where Woodland and Folwer made back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 to tie the match, before Fowler made a clutch putt at the last to earn a much needed half point.

"Momentum is huge," Woodland said afterwards.

"That was a huge half-point. Any time you can scrape out something; we did it. Now we have to regroup. We have 36 ahead of us tomorrow and hopefully go out and flip this a little bit."

Presidents Cup: Matches (DAY 3) - Fourballs

Haotong Li / Marc Leishman vs. Rickie Fowler / Justin Thomas

Abraham Ancer / Sungjae Im vs. Patrick Cantlay / Xander Schauffele

C.T. Pan / Hideki Matsuyama vs. Webb Simpson / Patrick Reed

Byeong Hun An / Adam Scott vs. Tony Finau / Matt Kuchar