US Takes Afternoon Foursomes 4-1

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GEORGE, South Africa -- The United States captured four out five points in Friday's foursomes matches to surge into the lead after the second day of the Presidents Cup. The U.S. has a three-point lead at 9 1/2 - 6 1/2 at The Links Course at Fancourt Hotel & Country Club Estates.
 
Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III avenged their 5-and-3 loss in Friday morning's fourballs with a 1-up victory over Retief Goosen and Tim Clark.
 
Kenny Perry and Jerry Kelly led the charge in the foursomes, or alternate-shot format, with a 2-and-1 victory over Peter Lonard and K.J. Choi. Fred Funk, one of Jack Nicklaus' captain's picks, teamed with 2001 PGA Champion David Toms to trounce the International team of Robert Allenby and Stephen Leaney, 4 and 3.
 
Ernie Els and Adam Scott nearly coughed up a 3-up lead but pulled out a 1-up win over the American team of Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco. Mickelson is the only member of the U.S. team who has yet to collect a point.
 
Jim Furyk, the reigning U.S. Open champion, continued his strong play from the morning. In the fourballs, he teamed with Jay Haas to match the most lopsided win in Presidents Cup history with a 6-and-5 drubbing of Stuart Appleby and Scott.
 
In the foursomes, Furyk reunited with his World Cup partner from last week, Justin Leonard, and handled the highly-ranked International team of 2003 PGA Tour money leader Vijay Singh and Masters winner Mike Weir, 5 and 4.
 
Nicklaus' squad evened the matches Friday morning when they took three out of five fourball, or better-ball matches. Nicklaus switched some of his pairings and rested Davis Love III to nurse his sore neck and Jay Haas, who is 49 years of age.
 
Woods and Howell looked impressive in building a 4-up lead through 13 holes. Woods, however, missed a four-footer for a halve at the 16th and suddenly the Americans' lead was only 1-up.
 
The teams halved the 17th and Goosen gave the Internationals a good chance at a half point when he knocked the team's second to 10 feet at the par-5 18th. Clark never got the eagle putt on line and Woods delivered on his four-footer to halve the hole and win the match.
 
'I don't know if I could have lived that one down if I missed that one,' admitted Woods, who owns a 5-1 record in foursomes in three appearances at the Presidents Cup.
 
All of the other points for the U.S. were laughers. Perry and Kelly won four holes in a row, starting at the eighth and despite a pair of late birdie putts by Choi, the Americans closed out the match on No. 17.
 
Perry is now the only undefeated American at 3-0 and Kelly was just happy to get back into the mix. He sat out Friday morning's foursomes and in the afternoon, finally earned his first point in an international team competition.
 
'It was really hard to sit out this morning, but I told the guys that I was here for the team,' said Kelly. 'Mr. Nicklaus clearly knows what's going on because he had me fresh out there.'
 
Funk and Toms birdied the ninth to go 1-up and the Aussie duo failed to make either a birdie or a threat. They were dusted on the 14th hole and now Leaney is still winless in his Presidents Cup debut.
 
Furyk and Leonard were never in jeopardy Friday afternoon but Els and Scott nearly blew their huge lead to Mickelson and DiMarco. The International tandem made a triple-bogey and bogey at 12 and 13 to cut their lead to 1-up.
 
Scott ensured a two-putt birdie at the 16th to go 2-up with two to play. Mickelson cut that margin in half with a 25-foot birdie putt at 17 and the Americans seemed to have the advantage at the par-5 closing hole.
 
DiMarco hit his second shot to 10 while Scott's approach hit the green and rolled off the back. Els chipped in from behind the green to secure the International team's only point in foursomes.
 
'We played so well for 11 holes and then I lost the plot on 12 and hit it right,' said Els. 'But we hung in there.'
 
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