Recaps from Day 3 foursomes and fourballs

By November 19, 2011, 7:11 am

Results from the Day 3 fourball matches at Royal Melbourne: 

Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen (International) d. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson (U.S.), 2 and 1

It turns out that Simpson and Watson can be beaten after all. Despite staging a late comeback, the American duo suffered their first loss.

The Americans never led, falling behind after losing the first hole to a Schwartzel birdie. Goosen won Nos. 6 and 7, first with a 23-foot birdie putt and then a par 4 after the Americans could not get up-and-down for par.

Schwartzel increased the International lead at the tricky downhill par-4 11th, hitting his approach toward a tucked pin to 10 feet and making a rare birdie on the hole.

The Americans tried to fight back, taking the 14th with a Simpson par with the Internationals bunkered off of the tee at the par 3.  Watson won the 16th when he was the only player to find the green in regulation and make par.

It was too little, too late, however.

K.T. Kim and Y.E. Yang (International) d. Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson (U.S.), 1 up

Woods and Johnson fell for the second time in three matches together.

Yang made a birdie at the first to take the lead, which held up until Woods sank a 34-foot birdie - his second of the round - to square the match.

The teams traded wins on the 11th and 12th holes in birdie, with Yang and Woods each making 11-foot putts as weather became more of a factor around Royal Melbourne.

It was Kim, however, who put the dagger in the Americans' heart. Kim made the lone birdie at the par-5 15th, sinking a 28-footer to regain the lead for good. 

The Americans had looks for birdie at the final three holes, though none from particularly close range.

Woods and Johnson played terrific golf from tee to green, but their inability to make mid-range putts for hole-winning birdies left them in the loss column.

Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi (International) d. Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar (U.S.), 1 up

Just three holes were won. The Internationals took a pair of holes to the Americans' lone win to earn a point.

Kuchar nailed down the only victory for the U.S. side at the par-3 fifth, making birdie from 22 feet. A hole later, Kuchar nearly holed out for eagle, but instead tied in birdie.

Choi responded at the eighth with a birdie bomb from 30 feet to square the match.

Perhaps using his experience at Royal Melbourne to his advantage, Ogilvy made a downhill 19-foot birdie putt at the tricky 11th. That putt proved to be the difference.

The American duo hit a lot of greens in regulation, but rarely gave themselves realistic chances for birdie. Stroking first putts from more than 20 feet, neither Stricker nor Kuchar was able to sink anything to swing the momentum in their favor.

With his neck needing rest, Stricker sat out the morning session. Perhaps the rust was an issue for the Wisconsin native as his characteristically strong putting stroke never really shined.

Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas (U.S.) d. Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley (International), 2 and 1

In the most volatile match of the second session, a dramatic finish allowed Mahan and Haas to steal a point from Day and Baddeley.

Baddeley opened with birdie to give his team the edge and the partisan Aussie crowd something to cheer. Haas answered with an eagle at the par-5 second hole.

The U.S. took control with consecutive wins at Nos. 6 and 7, riding a pair of Mahan approaches to a half-dozen feet to wins.

The first four holes of the back nine were won in pars by each side, with the Internationals taking the first two holes when the Americans missed efforts to halve the hole from inside 8 feet. 

Haas responded at the 12th and 13th, however, with putts of 12 and 8 feet, respectively, to win and re-establish the American advantage.

After halving the par-3 14th, the teams swapped wins at Nos. 15 and 16 to set up the climactic finale.

Both Americans found the green at the 17th, both inside of Day. The Aussie roused the crowd with a 32-foot birdie putt, but Mahan quickly silenced the crowd and ended the match when he made a 23-foot birdie bid of his own.

Nick Watney and Jim Furyk (U.S.) d. Adam Scott and Ernie Els (International), 1 up

Watney was the worst American player in the Friday fourball session. In his Saturday fourball with Furyk, however, Watney may have been the best.

With birdies on the fourth and fifth holes, Watney gave an advantage to the Americans with putts of 16 and 24 feet, respectively.

Els led his team to two consecutive wins at the ninth and 10th. On both holes, the Americans could not reach the green in regulation.

Watney struck back immediately at the 11th, hitting his approach shot to 4 feet. It was the shot of the session at the hole, which featured a tucked pin on a ridge.

Three holes later, Watney hit another crisp iron shot at the par-3 14th. After the Internationals could not make either of their birdie bids, Watney made his to nail down the final American win of the match.

Scott had the best chance to even the match at the 17th hole, but he missed a 9-foot birdie putt after a sterling approach. The Americans survived for the win when Scott was unable to make a birdie at the last hole. 

For the first time all week, Watney was a victor. He went 1-1-1, splitting time with Furyk and Bill Haas. Derided for making the team after a lackluster 2011 season, Furyk swept his four matches.

Results from the Day 3 foursomes matches at Royal Melbourne:

Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson (U.S.) d. Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy (International), 3 and 2

Watson and Simpson continued their winning ways, defeating Royal Melbourne specialists Allenby and Ogilvy.

The Americans never trailed, winning the first two holes with birdies. The International duo pulled even with wins at the front-side par-3 third and fifth.

The teams traded wins at the eighth and ninth to make the turn all square. From then on, the Internationals did not win another hole.

Watson and Simpson won with a bogey at the par-4 12th when the Aussies took four to get on the green. The Americans sealed their third consecutive win with mid-range birdie putts at Nos. 14 and 16.

The pair who faced off in a playoff in New Orleans have now taken all three of their matches from the lead-off spot – a Presidents Cup first.

Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa (International) d. Bill Haas and Matt Kuchar (U.S.), 1 up

In their final match as a duo in this Presidents Cup, Ishikawa and Els went out as winners by the slimmest of margins.

The Americans led from the beginning, winning the opening two holes with a birdie and an eagle. Setting the tempo for the match, the Internationals answered by taking the par-3 third and fifth holes.

The U.S. duo rallied with winning pars at the sixth and seventh, taking advantage of inadequate approach play by the Internationals.

Haas bunkered the Americans on the 10th and 12th holes with his approach shots, leaving Kuchar to extricate halves from the sand. But he was unable to get the ball close enough for Haas to make sandies, so the Internationals again pulled even.

After the Americans won the 14th with a par, the Internationals took two straight holes to take the lead and keep it for good. Kuchar blasted his first putt at the par-5 15th some 20 feet past the pin, leading to a losing bogey.

To secure the win, Ishikawa sank critical putts to halve the final two holes. The Japanese star sank a 14-footer to make par at No. 17, then holed a tricky 5-foot par putt to secure the full point. 

Ishikawa is done for the day, as he will sit out in the afternoon fourballs. 

Hunter Mahan and David Toms (U.S.) d. Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel (International), 5 and 4

Mahan and Toms avenged a loss in the fourball session on Friday.

The Internationals won just a single hole, the fourth, to take the early advantage. Following that win, the South Africans lost four of the next five holes.

After Schwartzel short-sided his teammate at the fifth, a par was all the Americans needed to win. A hole later, Mahan holed out his second shot from 53 yards for an eagle at the short par-4 sixth. On the seventh, Mahan made a 21-foot birdie putt to go 2 up. Another International bogey at the ninth bookended the American run on the front side.

The Internationals failed to hit the green at Nos. 13 and 14 and were unable to get up-and-down for par on both holes, so the Americans won to close out the match.

Both foursomes matches won by Toms and Mahan were blowouts, including their 6-and-5 victory on Thursday.

Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson (U.S.) d. Adam Scott and K.J. Choi (International), 3 and 2

For the first time in this Presidents Cup, Woods came out a winner.

Woods teamed with Johnson to take out Scott and Choi. Woods and Steve Stricker had lost, 7 and 6, in the anchor match of the Thursday foursomes to the same duo.

The Americans got behind early after a three-putt at the par-3 third hole, but rallied with pars to win the seventh and eighth – the two longest par 4s on the front nine. Choi and Scott were unable to get up-and-down from inside 20 yards to halve both holes.

Choi made up for a poor pitch at the eighth with a tricky chip at the 11th, leading to a birdie to win the hole and square the match. It would be their final win, however.

The American duo closed out the match with wins in the final three holes, beginning with a concession at the 13th when the Internationals had 143 yards to go after Woods found the green for the U.S.

The Internationals three-putted the par-3 to lose the next hole, then split the 15th in par 5 before Woods drained a 16-foot putt to win the point.

With the exception of the final 16-footer Woods made to secure the win, the American duo made almost no putts of significant length. The longest putt the team made was 5 feet.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk (U.S.) d. Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day (International), 2 and 1

After 10 holes of their Saturday foursomes match, the American duo had no business winning a third consecutive match. 

Playing the final eight holes in 5 under, however, was enough to produce an astounding comeback.

Swapping early wins with the Americans at the first and third, the Aussie duo took control of the match with wins at Nos. 4 and 5. To close the front nine, the teams traded wins with par on the final two holes of the side.

The 10th hole may have been a turning point, however. The Americans were gifted a halve in bogey, then did not drop a shot or a hole for the remainder of the match.

The Americans rattled off three straight wins with birdies, making putts of 13, 25 and 20 feet, respectively. Suddenly, Furyk and Mickelson had turned a deficit into a stunning lead.

Two holes later, Furyk made a 21-foot birdie putt to win the par-5 15th, putting the squeeze on the Aussies. 

Mickelson secured the unlikely win on the penultimate hole in dramatic fashion. The four-time major winner made a putt of 52 feet, including a couple of feet of break, to make birdie and win the match. 

The undefeated duo, however, will not go for the sweep in the afternoon. Mickelson volunteered to sit for the first time in his Presidents Cup career.

Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."