All Square Entering Sunday Singles

By Sports NetworkSeptember 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PresidentGAINESVILLE, Va. -- Fred Couples, playing in his first international team competition in seven years, missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Saturday that could have given the United States the lead.
 
Instead, each side took 2 1/2 points in Saturday afternoon's four-ball matches as The Presidents Cup stands tied at 11-11.
 
Chris DiMarco and Phil Mickelson
Chris DiMarco and Phil Mickelson have teamed for a 3-0-1 record.
Couples, paired with Davis Love III, halved their match against Angel Cabrera and reigning U.S. Open champion, Michael Campbell.
 
Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk continued their strong play in their debut in team competition. The Americans, who went 2-0-1, took a 2-up decision against world No. 2 Vijay Singh and Stuart Appleby.
 
The other point for the U.S. came in convincing fashion as their best team, Chris DiMarco and PGA Champion Phil Mickelson, slaughtered Peter Lonard and Nick O'Hern, 6 and 5.
 
Retief Goosen and Adam Scott proved to be Gary Player's top International duo once again on Saturday. They dismissed a formerly undefeated American tandem, Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank, 5 and 4.
 
Tim Clark and Mark Hensby provided the second full point for the International team as they handled Kenny Perry and Stewart Cink, 5 and 3.
 
The Couples/Love and Campbell/Cabrera match was back and forth on the front nine with the sides halving the first, then one of the teams winning the next eight holes.
 
Couples ran home an 8-foot birdie putt at the 11th to move the Americans, 1-up, and that's how it stayed for the next five holes. Cabrera, despite Campbell being away, rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the 17th and Couples missed from 15 feet out to square the match.
 
At the closing hole at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, Campbell drove into the right fairway bunker, while Cabrera and Love pulled their drives badly. Couples was the only player to find the short grass.
 
Campbell went first and hit his approach 22 feet below the hole. Love went through the green on the fringe and Cabrera missed right of the putting surface. Couples, from 113 yards out, knocked his approach to 8 feet, much to the delight of the American team stationed around the green.
 
Cabrera chipped past the hole, then Love ran his birdie try past the flag. Campbell's putt skirted the left edge of the hole and he was conceded par. Couples' putt missed right, meaning the matches will be tied with the 12 singles to play for the first time in Presidents Cup history.
 
Woods and Furyk won the last two holes Saturday morning in the foursomes to halve Singh and Appleby and the afternoon four-ball match was just as exciting.
 
The International pair built 1-up leads three times in the four-ball, but the Americans answered every time. Furyk canned a 20-foot birdie putt at the 13th and when Appleby missed from 15 feet, the match was even.
 
The U.S. looked to be in great shape to steal a win at 14 when both Americans were inside 20 feet at the par-3 hole. Singh missed the green, but converted a 15-foot par save from the fringe. Neither American found the bottom of the club, so they remained all-square.
 
Furyk missed a short birdie chance at 15, but Woods, who made only one birdie to Furyk's six, poured in an 18-foot birdie putt at 16 to go 1-up. Furyk had 12 feet for birdie and the match at 17, but missed left.
 
The Internationals needed a victory at the 18th to play Woods and Furyk even for 36 holes. Singh missed the green with his approach, but Appleby had 9 feet for birdie. Furyk was 15 feet from the hole and Woods, hitting last to the green, hit his second to 5 feet.
 
Singh missed his chip, then Furyk's putt lipped out on the left side. Appleby's birdie run came up short, and the match went to the U.S. side.
 
'It's nice to get out there and get a point,' admitted Furyk. 'We had a tough match out there. Both guys played well. Appleby, he knocked in some putts. I expected that last one to go in.'
 
Goosen and Scott won the first hole, but the U.S. tied things with a win at the third. Scott won the seventh with a 5-foot birdie putt and the Internationals won the eighth and ninth to go 3-up.
 
Scott holed a 4-foot par putt at the 11th to win that hole and move 4-up. The Internationals won 13 and closed out the match two holes later when a Verplank chip did not fall.
 
Goosen and Scott not only won the battle of the undefeated teams, but also wrote their names in the history book on Saturday. Their 3 1/2 points is the most by one pair in a single Presidents Cup. It was a record they held by themselves briefly.
 
'Today we played very well,' said Goosen. 'I played a little bit better today so I helped him out a bit. We play a similar sort of game. We gel well off each other.'
 
DiMarco stepped on the gas early in his match as he kicked in a 3-footer to win the first. With his partner in close, DiMarco sank an 18-footer for birdie at three, then Mickelson holed a 12-footer to win the seventh.
 
DiMarco kept up with his strong putting as he drained a 15-footer for birdie to win the eighth. The Americans captured the ninth to take a commanding 5-up lead through the turn.
 
The Internationals won No. 10 to stop the bleeding, but DiMarco hit an amazing second shot at the par-5 12th. The Internationals could not make birdie, so they conceded the hole.
 
Mickelson hit a spectacular second from the rough with his ball waist high on 13. His baseball swing produced an approach that stopped 6 feet from the hole, but DiMarco rolled in a 15-footer to win the match and tie the Presidents Cup record for largest four-ball victory.
 
'It was fun. We both hit a lot of really quality golf shots the last two days,' said DiMarco, who, with Mickelson, matched Goosen and Scott's record with 3 1/2 points about 15 minutes after the mark was set. 'It's always nice to look across the fairway and see Phil Mickelson as your partner.'
 
Hensby and Clark won the second and third holes, then dropped the fourth. The Internationals won five, six and seven and were 4-up.
 
Perry, who is 0-3 this week, and Cink never got closer than 3-down. When Perry missed a 14-foot birdie putt at the 15th, the Internationals claimed a full point.
 
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