The Washington Post

Woods, Kuchar remain perfect and Americans move closer to winning Presidents Cup again

The Americans are assured of being in the lead going into the final matches of the rain-plagued Presidents Cup in Dublin, Ohio.

Zach Johnson holed out from the 15th fairway for eagle to complete a swift turnaround in foursomes and give the Americans yet another point toward winning the Presidents Cup for the fifth straight time.

Johnson and Jason Dufner won six of eight holes to go from 2 down to a 4-and-3 win over Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman. That was the only foursomes match that finished before it became too dark to play Saturday at Muirfield Village.

But this much was clear — the Americans are in control and have been the whole way.

Another rain delay kept the matches from finishing for the second straight day, this time because of the work needed to drain the saturated golf course. The four matches were to resume Sunday morning, followed by an early start to the 12 singles matches because of more rain in the forecast.

The win by Johnson and Dufner gave the Americans an 11½-6½ lead, meaning they were assured at least a one-point lead going into singles. Since the Presidents Cup began in 1994, no team has ever trailed going into singles and won outright. The Americans were three points behind in 2003 and rallied for that infamous tie in South Africa.

“The U.S. has really been unrelenting,” International captain Nick Price said. “They have just played superbly the last three days. Any slip from us and we find ourselves one or two down very quickly.”

The final hour was another example of that.

Early in the foursomes session, the board was filled with blue International scores on the front nine. Steve Stricker and Bill Haas warmed up their putters and went from 1 down to a 2-up lead through 10 holes. Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, who rallied earlier in a fourballs match to win, were 3 down through seven holes when Mickelson made two big putts that led to them squaring the match through 14 holes.

Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar, undefeated in all three matches they have played this week, were 2 down against Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge through nine holes. Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were 3 up over Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker through 12 holes.

“We’re still in pretty good shape,” Price said. “If we can turn one of these games around tomorrow, it would make our life a lot easier going into singles.”

But it’s not that easy. The Americans have a 5-1-3 advantage in the singles session at the Presidents Cup, the only loss coming in 2007 at Royal Montreal when they started the final round with a seven-point lead.

●LPGA TOUR: Chinese golfer Shanshan Feng shot a 9-under-par 64 to take a one-stroke lead over American Stacy Lewis after the third round of the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing.

Shrouded in the Chinese capital’s notorious smog, Feng carded nine birdies in a bogey-free round for a total of 21-under 198, boosting the chances of a home winner in the first LPGA tournament played in the country.

●SEVE TROPHY: Britain and Ireland won four and halved one of the eight foursomes to tie Continental Europe, 9-9, in Saint-Nom-la-Breteche, France.

Continental Europe lost the last six meetings and is trying to win the trophy for the first time since the inaugural contest in 2000.

The tournament ends on Sunday with 10 singles. Each team needs 51 / 2 more points for victory.


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