Internationals keep hopes alive
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2013 The Presidents Cup | Round One | 04 Oct 2013
Tournament administrators, golf fans worldwide and most importantly the players involved will no doubt have breathed a sigh of relief at the great fight-back by the International side in today’s opening Four-ball matches at the Presidents Cup in Columbus in Ohio.
At one point early on day one, the leaderboard was littered with red white and blue, all six of the matches leaning the way of the Americans.
As the day wore on however and as the tide began to turn things began to look considerably more hopeful for the International side.
A nearly 90 minute rain delay in the middle of the round allowed the Internationals to regroup to some extent and when they returned to the golf course things took on a different perspective.
Perhaps the match that highlighted the come-back more than any other was that of Jason Day, playing in just his second Presidents Cup, and his partner, rookie Graham DeLaet. The pair, out on the first match of the day, was three down through six holes against Brandt Snedeker and Hunter Mahan before consecutive birdies by Day at the 7th and 8th had them all square at the turn.
They halved the next five holes before DeLaet and Day birdied the 15th, and DeLaet the 17th to get the match back to square. Snedeker would birdie the 17th but at the final hole Day holed a 20 footer across the green to give the Internationals a 1 up victory.
The momentum of that great come-back carried through the team to some extent and although it would not be enough to win the overall morning encounter, the Internationals did enough to save the 2013 Presidents Cup from being one way traffic and kept their hopes alive of building on that momentum tomorrow.
They trail by 3½ to 2½.
Tomorrow’s match ups are;
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley retain their combination despite losing their opening round match and will tackle the winning pairing of Jason Day and Graham DeLeat . Bit hard to see Mickelson and Bradley going down again so this might go to the Americans.
Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan both struggled a little in their respective opening matches with different partners and have joined forces to take on Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge who fought back to only narrowly lose their match today but were certainly not disgraced. With that run under their belt the Internationals might be a handful for the Americans. Possible International victory here.
Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth take on the South African pairing of Richard Sterne and Branden Grace. The South Africans copped a hiding today and although the Foursomes format might well suit them better, the Americans are a classy combination as they displayed today. Americans to win.
Webb Simpson and Brand Snedeker are a new combination with Snedeker’s partner from day one, Hunter Mahan joining forces with Bill Haas. Snedeker and Simpson however will take on Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman who suffered a big loss today. The Americans to win this one.
The successful and very compatible combination of Matt Kuchar and Tiger Woods is kept alive for a match-up against the perhaps surprise winners today, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. This is a close one to call but given their close friendship the combination of the South Africans might get them home in an upset. The Internationals could get this done.
The final match of the day features a real tough one. Adam Scott and the Japanese rookie Hideki Matsuyama take on Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. This is a format where great communication is necessary and whether the International combination can pull this off given Matsuyama’s lack of English skills is questionable. It might be that Scott and Matsuyama are two of the most brilliant players on the International side but communication and combination is a key ingredient. This will likely go to the Americans.