In total darkness, the United States took a one-point lead Saturday night when Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed closed out Jason Day and Charl Schwartzel on a 16th green lit only by a scoreboard and the surrounding Incheon skyline. The Internationals managed to tie the Presidents Cup twice in Saturday fourballs, but for the 24th consecutive session, the U.S. ended play with the lead, 9 ½ to 8 ½. After three highly competitive days, here's where things stand heading into Sunday singles in South Korea (matches posted in order of finish):
Match 17: Hideki Matsuyama and Sangmoon Bae def. Chris Kirk and Jimmy Walker, 6 and 5
In the most lopsided match of the week, Bae and Matsuyama made six consecutive birdies from Nos. 6-11, with Bae making three straight on Nos. 7-9. Walker and Kirk actually went to congratulate their opponents a hole early, before being informed they were only dormie through 12. The match ended on the following green, when Kirk missed a birdie attempt. Matsuyama and Bae played their 13 holes 9 under par.
Score: 7 ½ to 7 ½
Match 16: Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson def. Adam Scott and Anirban Lahiri, 3 and 2
Mickelson and Johnson took the lead on the opening hole and never surrendered it. Two up at the turn, Mickelson stretched that lead to 3 up with three to play when he stuffed a punch wedge from 117 yards at the par-5 15th to 2 feet. While Scott continued to struggle with putting, Mickelson and Johnson, the United States’ elder statesmen, remained unbeaten this week at 2-0-1.
Score: 8 ½ to 7 ½
Match 15: Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace def. Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes, 1 up
In a matchup of undefeated teams this week, the Internationals led from the first through the 12th holes before the U.S. moved to all square with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 12 and 13. Grace gave his side the advantage at No. 16 after his errant approach got a lucky bounce off the gallery, and he took advantage with a chip-in birdie. Oosthuizen looked as if he was going to end it at the par-3 17th when his tee shot nearly one-hopped in the hole but his short birdie try didn’t go. Grace finally earned the full point with a birdie at the par-5 18th, with only the clubhouse and the scoreboard providing any light on the green. The loss was Holmes’ first in his seven career Presidents Cup matches, moving him to 4-1-2. Oosthuizen and Grace are a perfect 4-0.
Score: 8 ½ to 8 ½
Match 18: Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed def. Jason Day and Charl Schwartzel, 3 and 2
Spieth and Reed remain undefeated in international play, moving to 3-0-1 with an in-the-dark victory over Day and Scwhartzel, the both of whom Spieth had already defeated earlier Saturday with Dustin Johnson. After starting 1 down through six, Spieth and Reed won five of the next six holes to pull away in a hurry. The highlight of the match came at the par-4 12th, when Spieth told U.S. assistant captain Davis Love III that he was going to hole-out from the greenside bunker for birdie – and then did it. This match pushed all the way to 16 before it was finally ended in the dead of night with a couple of pars. Spieth and Reed played their 16 holes 9 under, with Spieth making eight birdies.
Score: 9 ½ to 8 ½
The United States was in danger of losing its lead in the Saturday morning foursomes, but Jordan Spieth's putter finally caught fire, and the Americans kept a one-point advantage, 7 ½ to 6 ½. Here's where the Presidents Cup stood heading into the afternoon fourballs.
Match 11: Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace def. Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, 3 and 2
Oosthuizen and Grace moved to 3-0 this week and have provided the spark the Internationals desperately needed to get back into this competition. They dominated Fowler and Reed on Saturday morning, a day after smoking Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, 4 and 3. The South Africans were 2 up after 4 holes, and while the Americans pulled even on Nos. 8 and 11, Oosthuizen and Grace regained the lead each time. Oosthizen closed it out with a clutch par on 16.
Score: 5 ½ to 5 ½
Match 12: Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes vs. Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, halved
Watson had 5 feet to win the match on 18, but he missed a short putt for the second time in three holes. He also missed a short par putt on 16 that gave the hole to the Internationals and squared the match. Watson and Scott exchanged testy 5-footers on 17 to keep the match level, and on 18 Leishman dropped a 7-footer for par to give the Internationals hope. Watson missed and failed to secure a full point for the U.S.
Score: 6 to 6
Match 13: Bill Haas and Matt Kuchar vs. Sangmoon Bae and Hideki Matsuyama, halved
This match was tied on No. 17, but Bae and Matsuyama both flubbed pitch shots to hand the Americans the lead. For the second match in a row, however, the Americans couldn't close the deal as the Internationals won the 18th hole to scratch out a half point.
Score: 6 ½ to 6 ½
Match 14: Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson def. Jason Day and Charl Schwartzel, 1 up
Spieth hadn't made a putt all day, but like he's done all year, the Masters and U.S. Open champion came up big when it mattered most. Spieth holed a 7-foot birdie putt on 17 to square the match, and then drained the clinching par putt on 18 to complete a stunning rally after starting the back nine 3 down.
Score: 7 ½ to 6 ½