Americans in control at Muirfield
The Americans are assured of being in the lead going into the final round of the rain-plagued Presidents Cup.
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 today, 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 111/2-61/2 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.