Back to the Beginning

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So much for the concept that Americans can't play as a team. After sweeping the Internationals in Thursday's Foursome matches, the U.S. nearly did it again on Friday. The Americans won four of the five Friday Foursomes to take a 10-5 lead into Day Three of the 4th Presidents Cup.
 
Fortunately for the International teams, there are no more Foursomes to be played. Saturday, the two teams will play five Four-Ball (better ball) matches, which the Internationals won 4-1 Friday morning.
 
After a spirited run in the A.M. session, the Internationals find themselves where they started the day - five points back of the Americans.
 
Entering the afternoon Foursomes, the International team had cut an overnight deficit of 5-0 to 6-4. But just as they had done the day prior, the Americans routed the defending champions in the alternate-shot format.
 
Woods/Begay III vs. Els/Singh
 
International captain Peter Thomson must have figured sooner or later Vijay Singh and Ernie Els had to click.
 
He figured wrong.
 
Els and Singh lost to Woods and Begay 1-up in Thursday Foursomes, and then fell to Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III 2-and-1 in Saturday's morning Four-Ball match. Nonetheless, the two were paired together again Saturday afternoon.
 
After losing to Shigeki Maruyama and Carlos Franco 3-and-2 in the better-ball format, Woods and Begay hit the range before teeing it up in the afternoon.
 
Whatever they were looking for, they found.
 
The former Stanford teammates played the first six holes in 5-under-par, en route to a front-nine 31. Meanwhile, Els and Singh carded an outward half of 4-over-par 39. The Americans won the first six holes, and made the turn 6-up.
 
From there, the college buddies rolled to a 6-and-5 victory by birdying each of the final two holes of their match.
 
Roberts/Azinger vs. Franco/Maruyama
 
Franco and Maruyama weren't able to continue the momentum they gathered after beating Woods and Begay in the morning.
 
Loren Roberts put on a dazzling putting display, and Paul Azinger more than held his own, as the Americans won easily 5-and-4.
 
Just 1-up through eight holes, Roberts and `Zinger carded five birdies in a six-hole stretch beginning at the par-3 9th to pull away from the overmatched International team.
 
The victory was Azinger's first as a Presidents Cup rookie. The loss was Maruyama's first in seven overall matches.
 
Sutton/Lehman vs. Campbell/Goosen
 
Tom Lehman and Hal Sutton got off to a tremendous start by birdying five of their first seven holes Friday afternoon. As did Begay and Woods, Sutton and Lehman went out in 5-under-par 31 to take a 3-up advantage into the back nine.
 
Lehman gave the team a 4-up lead by nearly acing the par-3 11th. And despite a loss at the par-5 14th, the Americans parred their final five holes to win the match 3-and-2.
 
Sutton got a bit of revenge on Campbell and Goosen. The Kiwi and the South African defeated Sutton and Azinger 4-and-3 in the morning Four-Ball match.
 
Duval/Mickelson vs. Price/Weir David Duval had a day he would certainly like to forget; and he can thank one man for that - Nick Price. Friday morning Price and Greg Norman defeated Duval and Jim Furyk 6-and-5. Friday afternoon, Price teamed with Mike Weir to once again soundly defeat a Duval-led team.
 
Price and Weir birdied five of their first 11 holes in the afternoon, while Duval and Phil Mickelson carded nothing but pars. Price and Weir complemented each other perfectly on Friday to the tune of six birdies and no bogeys. The tandem won handily 6-and-4.
 
Cink/Triplett vs. Allenby/Appleby
 
It was the most tightly contested Foursome match of the day; and one that the Internationals desperately needed to win.
 
Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby led by as many as 2-up early in the match, but a Kirk Triplett birdie at the 13th pulled the Americans level with the Internationals with five holes remaining.
 
The U.S. took a 1-up advantage with their third-consecutive birdie at the 15th; and when the Internationals bogeyed the par-4 17th, the match, and the day's activities, came to a rest.
 
Cink and Triplett, both Presidents Cup rookies, won for the second-straight time together in Foursomes. This time it was a 2-and-1 victory.
 
Saturday, the Internationals will try, once again, to use the better-ball format to climb back into the match.
 
Saturday Four-Ball Matches
 
Sutton/Furyk vs. Norman/Campbell
Lehman/Mickelson vs. Weir/Elkington
Duval/Love III vs. Els/Price
Triplett/Cink vs. Allenby/Franco
Woods/Begay III vs. Goosen/Singh