Internationals rally to cut U.S. lead to just one


The United States lost the second session nearly as dramatically as it won the first, with the Internationals staging a Day 2 surge to reinvigorate the Presidents Cup. The Internationals won three and a half of the five points available Friday, leaving the United States hanging on to just a one-point lead at 5 ½ -4 ½. Here's where things stand through two sessions in South Korea, where the drama has heightened and a Phil Mickelson rules snafu looms large (matches posted in order of finish):

Match 6: Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace def. Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, 4 and 3

After winning 4 and 3 on Day 1, Spieth and Johnson found themselves walking off the 15th green under different circumstances on Day 2. After those two took a 1-up lead through seven, Oosthuizen swung the match with a 72-foot putt for birdie on No. 8, and Grace followed up with two birdies to put the Internationals 2 up through 10. Spieth and Johnson never got back into the match, with Spieth showing frustration on the 14th green after going 3 down, mocking his own poor putt. The match was over a hole later. Oosthuizen and Grace, who produced the only point for the Internationals on Day 1, moved to 2-0.

Score: 4-2, United States

Match 7: Sangmoon Bae and Danny Lee def. Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, 1 up

The Internationals never led in this match – until it was over. After trailing by two holes for the majority of the front nine, Bae halved the match with a birdie pitch-in at the par-4 10th. The match remained all square, with Lee struggling and Walker and Fowler missing multiple putts to regain control, until Bae, the native South Korean who will be stepping away from golf to fulfill his military conscription, jarred a 12-foot putt for birdie at the par-5 18th to put the Internationals' second point of the session on the board.

Score: 4-3, United States

Match 10: Charl Schwartzel and Thongchai Jaidee def. Chris Kirk and Bill Haas, 2 and 1

Three of the four players in this match sat out on Day 1, with Kirk and Haas healthy scratches and Schwartzel battling illness. The Internationals grabbed the lead on the third hole and never trailed. Schwartzel put the U.S. in an especially difficult spot with a 23-foot birdie at the par-3 13th that gave his side a 3-up lead.  Though Kirk and Haas battled back to just 1 down with two holes to play, another Schwartzel birdie at the par-3 17th sealed it, giving the Internationals their third full point of the day, tying the overall matches.

Score: 4-4

Match 8: Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson halved Jason Day and Adam Scott, 18 holes

All square through six, Mickelson and Johnson went a seemingly impossible 2 down through seven when Mickelson violated the one-ball rule and was then given an improper ruling, resulting in the U.S. losing the same hole twice. The U.S. quickly rallied to win three of the next five holes and reclaimed the lead via a Mickelson hole-out for eagle from the bunker at No. 12. All square through 17, the match was finally halved with birdies on the par-5 18th. Had Mickelson been allowed to finish the seventh hole and not improperly disqualified from doing so, this match could have turned out differently.

Score: 4 ½-4 ½

Match 9: Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes def. Marc Leishman and Steven Bowditch, 2 up

This was the third match of the day and the second in which the Internationals did not lead while it was in progress. The Americans took an early advantage and led this match just 1 up for 14 of 18 holes played. With the Americans having just lost their sizable Day 1 lead, Watson and Holmes earned a concession on the closing hole to retake the lead at the end of a decidedly International session. In the process, Watson and Holmes improved to 2-0.

Score: 5 ½ -4 ½, United States