Presidents Cup: Team USA remains ahead of Internationals through rain delay

Starting the round with sunny skies, Saturday afternoon at the Presidents Cup in Dublin, Ohio, saw rain that measured just under an inch and caused a delay that lasted two hours and 34 minutes.

Despite this, play resumed at 5:43 p.m. Eastern before being suspended at 7:15 due to darkness. Two matches were completed on Friday with the rest wrapping up early Saturday morning.

When the dust finally settled, the deficit for the Internationals remained the same trailing by a full point. Here is a recap of Day 2:

Bradley/Mickelson (USA) defeat Day/DeLaet (INT) 4 & 3

Oct 4, 2013; Dublin, OH, USA; Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley celebrate on the 13th hole during the second round of the President

Following their first loss as a team, the dominant Ryder Cup tandem of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson knew that they had to deliver for their team.

“We were both pretty devastated,” Bradley said. “It felt horrible. We were ready to go out and win this match today, and we played well.”

The team of Jason Day and Graham DeLaet were coming off a one up victory Thursday sealed by a birdie on the 18th hole. The good vibes continued on the first hole where the team birdied the first hole to take the lead.

After both teams birdied the second hole, Mickelson and Bradley knew that they would need to step up which happened on the fifth hole. Bradley stepped up for his second shot to the par-5 and knocked the ball to eight feet. Mickelson then sank the putt negating an International Team birdie.

On the sixth hole, Mickelson hit a shot that bounced and hit the rough before spinning back to the cup setting up a guaranteed birdie. The American duo would win the next two holes and take momentum of the match. The lead was six up through 12 holes putting themselves in a dormie position. After dropping the next two holes, the third time was the charm and a par clinched the match.

“I just think that when Phil and I get rolling in this alternate‑shot, we complement each other so well,” Bradley said. “I was saying that I think that we both really enjoy kind of showing off in front of each other.”

Even International Team Captain Nick Price knew his team was up against it.

“Jason and Graham came up against probably some of the finest golf I’ve ever seen in alternate-shot,” Price said.

Els/ de Jonge (INT) defeat Haas/Mahan (USA) 4 & 3

Oct 4, 2013; Dublin, OH, USA; Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge on the 11th green during the second round of the President

Don’t be fooled by the loss on Thursday, Brendon de Jonge may be the most surprising player on either side these first two days, although don’t tell him that.

“It’s been a ton of fun,” de Jonge said. “Ernie is giving me way too much credit and it’s been a very, very exciting two days for me.

de Jonge kept his team in the match on Thursday with eight birdies as Ernie Els had his struggles.

The team raced out to a three up lead birding three of their first five holes. On the ninth hole, Els found himself in the bunker and to the crowd’s delight holed the shot just before play suspended for a birdie that would halve the hole.

“I had a perfect lie in the bunker,” Els said. “I’ve holed that bunker shot before, so it’s nice to have good memories. That was a big one to make.”

Following the rain delay, the American fans started “USA” chants and with the increased pressure from the crowd and an important putt made, the pressure was on the Internationals, and they came through.

“There was a lot of distractions going on out there,” Els said. “It was crazy on that green. We had the fanatics on this side, and the U.S. side was on this side and they were going at each other and in between we are trying to play golf. Hunter made that 30‑footer down the hill, so you can imagine the crowd, and then Brendon had about a 12‑footer for birdie and he made it on top of that. So that was a really big swing there.”

Els and de Jonge did not drop a hole in the match, which was the nail in the coffin for the pair of Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan.

Stricker/Spieth (USA) defeat Grace/Sterne (INT) 2 & 1

Oct 4, 2013; Dublin, OH, USA; Jordan Spieth celebrates after a putt during the second round of the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

This match started back and forth with the Americans taking a two up lead after five holes. The team of Branden Grace and Richard Sterne picked up their game on holes six and seven including a birdie on that latter hole right in front of Captains Fred Couples and Nick Price.

Both teams hit their tee shots on the eighth hole right before the horn sounded to stop play.

Before play was set to resume, Spieth was seen on the practice putting green talking to his caddie Michael Greller, Webb Simpson and Simpson’s caddie Paul Tesori about the 10 foot putt he would have to face when play resumed. His confidence was justified when he birdied the hole.

“Well, I think we all experience nerves to a certain extent every week, especially if we are in contention,” Spieth said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s negative. A lot of the times, these guys most of the time, channel it as positive energy and they perform even better under pressure. Once you make a putt, I think for everybody, it settles you down a little bit and you get a little confidence.”

The Americans extended their lead to four up after 12 holes of play and despite dropping two holes, took the match parring the 17th hole.

Cabrera/Leishman (INT) defeat Simpson/Snedeker (USA) 2 & 1

Oct 4, 2013; Dublin, OH, USA; Angel Cabrera on the first tee during the second round of the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

This match may have been the most important win of the day for the Internationals.

He was over his ball for the first time and there was a few people yelling out, then the second time, he was over it, they yelled out a bit closer to when he was about to take it away,” Leishman said. “The third time, he was over it, someone’s yelled out really loudly, probably a split second before he was going to take the putter away and obviously it was a pretty big distraction for him. He walked away, got his composure and rolled it in and then turned around and fist‑pumped great at them. It was pretty satisfying for him I’m sure. You know, it’s something that I think that fires him up. So it was great that he could roll it in and do what he did.”

The win was a tight one as it was the International team one up in the match and the only true competitive contest still out on the course following the delay.

“It’s just great to get a win under the belt for the two of us,” Leishman said. “We played reasonably well. I think Sneds and Webb probably didn’t play their best, but we got it done and that’s what matters. We got a point.”

Woods/Kuchar (USA) defeat Oosthuizen/Schwartzel (INT) 4 & 2

Oct 5, 2013; Dublin, OH, USA; Tiger Woods plays from the fairway on the 15th hole during the second round of the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

From the first hole it looked as if the team of Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar were in complete control of their games. A perfect drive by Kuchar, set up Woods who knocked his approach shot to inside five feet, leading to a birdie and the quick lead.

“We had a great day,” Kuchar said. “7‑under through 11 was just incredible golf, hard to believe that these guys are really giving us a great match, they are playing good golf as well. It was a fun match and it’s been fun for me to have Tiger as a partner. Some of the shots into the par 5s, he’s hit some incredible fairway woods into the par 5s and making my job pretty easy.”

The team was able to take a two up lead into the back nine on Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. They extended the lead to three up despite a bogey on a the par-3 12th hole. They closed the match out on 16 with a birdie.

Matsuyama/Scott (INT) defeat Dufner/Johnson 2 & 1 (USA)

Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama continue to excel winning their first match together after a rally to halve Thursday’s contest.

The team held a three up lead over Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson after nine holes, and then pulled ahead to four up after 11 holes before play was suspended. The lead was five up through 12 after the delay before the Americans attempted to come back cutting the lead to two up.

“We played better this morning than we did yesterday,” Johnson said. “We had just a couple of missed opportunities yesterday and just put each other in some difficult predicaments. We had a few opportunities there and they captialized. You just can’t do that in this tournament.”

Still, the deficit was too much to overcome and the Internationals parred the last two holes to take the match.

Captains Fred Couples and Nick Price revealed their pairings Saturday morning for the second installment of Four-Balls and they are as follows:

Match 13:

Keegan Bradley/Phil Mickelson (USA) vs Ernie Els/Brendon de Jonge (INT)

Match 14:

Jordan Spieth/Steve Stricker (USA) vs Jason Day/Graham DeLaet (INT)

Match 15:

Bill Haas/Webb Simpson (USA) vs Angel Cabrera/Branden Grace (INT)

Match 16:

Hunter Mahan/Brandt Snedeker (USA) vs Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel (INT)

Match 17:

Tiger Woods/Matt Kuchar (USA) vs Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama (INT)

Each team had to sit out two members, and the Americans are sitting out Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson while the Internationals are sitting out Marc Leishman and Richard Sterne.

Topics: PGA Golf, President's Cup

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