US Overtakes ROW for Lead

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2004 UBS CupKIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- The U.S. turned a one-point deficit into a one-point advantage after winning four of the available six points in Saturdays four-ball (better ball) session in the UBS Cup.
 
The Americans won three matches and halved two others to take a slight lead into the final day of competition.
 
The home team, who now leads 6 -5 , needs to win 5 of the 12 singles points on offer Sunday to retain possession of the Cup. The Rest of the World team must get seven of those points to win the competition for the first time in four tries.
 
With the greens softened by some rain and very little wind blowing in off the neighboring Atlantic Ocean, players scorched the Cassique Course with a combined 83 birdies and three eagles, compared to just three bogeys.
 
Match 3 ' the first match to conclude Saturday ' was the only contest that was never really in doubt. Course designer Tom Watson atoned for his Day 1 loss by making seven birdies in 16 holes, as he and Hal Sutton defeated Australians Peter Senior and Rodger Davis, 4 and 2.
 
Sutton remains undefeated in UBS competition, upping his record to 5-0-0.
 
That victory tied the overall match score, which started the day at 3 -2 in favor of the ROW team, at 3 points apiece.
 
For the second straight day, U.S. captain Arnold Palmer teamed with Jay Haas and ROW captain Gary Player partnered with Mark McNulty. And for the second straight day, the two teams played to a draw.
 
The highlight of this match came on the par-4 ninth, when Player popped his drive so far that he actually confused his ball with McNultys. Both men played the others ball on their approach shots and conceded the hole to the American side.
 
McNulty explained that after scuffing his ball on the eighth hole his caddie gave him a Callaway No. 4 ball -- the same brand and number as that of Player's -- in replacement. McNulty had been using a Callaway No. 1, but ran out and his caddie did not inform anyone of the numerical switch.
 
'When we got down to the balls (in the fairway), there was one six yards ahead of the other, and seeing that Gary had been slightly behind me most of the day, I presumed that the (forward) ball was mine,' McNulty said.
 
'I looked at the back ball and it was a No. 4 and I just said, 'he didn't out-drive it,' and that was that. He went ahead and hit a fantastic shot. And it was my call, and it was only when I got to the green that I realized that it was the wrong ball.'
 
Said Player: 'I just hit my best iron shot of the day. I said, 'you'd better talk to my lawyer.''
 
In what proved to be the days most compelling match, Tom Kite and Craig Stadler earned a well-fought half Sam Torrance and Barry Lane.
 
The two teams each broke the tournament record for low score in the four-ball format, shooting a pair of 10-under-par 62s.
 
While Stadler and Kite provided a balanced attack, Lane carried his Scottish sidekick. The Englishman was credited with eight 3s in a nine-hole stretch, and played holes 6-12 in 6 under.
 
Stadler had a chance to win the match at the last, but missed a 6-footer for birdie.
 
It was a fantastic match, said Kite. All four of us were playing very, very well, making a lot of birdies, even some eagles out there. It was fitting it ended in a tie'
 
The overall match, too, was still a tie. But that changed quickly ' in the Americans favor.
 
Fred Couples and Raymond Floyd revived their 1991 Ryder Cup pairing, defeating Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle, 4 and 2. The two Americans would have broken the scoring record set in the Kite/Stadler-Torrance/Lane match had they gone the distance. They were 11 under in the 16 holes they completed.
 
Most of the damage was done by Couples, who was 9 under on his on ball.
 
I had a good plan today, said Floyd. Just get back out of the way and let Freddie play.
 
The U.S. moved two points clear when Curtis Strange made a 30-foot birdie ' his only one of the day ' at the par-4 17th to give him and Scott Hoch and 2-and-1 victory over Carl Mason and John Chillas.
 
Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie stopped the international bleeding when they defeated Hale Irwin and Fred Funk, 2 and 1. All square through 14, Montgomerie matched Funks birdie at the par-5 15th and then added another birdie at the par-3 16th to go 1-up. Langer then made a 20-foot birdie putt on 17 to clinch the match.
 
It wasnt looking good for us at 6 -4 . We needed that extra point, said Montgomerie. So now were back in, with a chance tomorrow.
 
Langer and Montgomerie are now 9-1-1 as a team in the Ryder Cup and UBS Cup.
 
Sunday's singles matches will feature Palmer vs. Player in the first match out. Former Ryder Cup captains Strange and Torrance will face off for the second time(Strange won, 4 and 3, in 2002). The most recent Ryder Cup captains, Langer and Sutton, will also square off.
 
Related Links:
  • Day 3 Singles Matches
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - UBS Cup