THE PRESIDENTS CUP
Match recaps: Saturday afternoon four-ball
October 10, 2015
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- October 10, 2015
- Sangmoon Bae and Hideki Matsuyama never lost their lead against Jimmy Walker and Chris Kirk. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SONGDO IBD, INCHEON CITY, South Korea – The Presidents Cup is up for grabs entering Sunday’s singles matches, with the U.S. clinging to a 9.5-8.5 lead through Saturday at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea.
Both teams split morning foursomes and afternoon four-ball matches on Saturday.
Here are quick recaps from all four Saturday afternoon matches:
Sangmoon Bae-Hideki Matsuyama (Int) def. Jimmy Walker-Chris Kirk (U.S.), 6 & 5: Matsuyama’s approach shot on the first hole landed inside 6 feet. He buried the birdie putt to win the hole. From there, the Internationals never looked back, as they posted the biggest victory margin this week, and nearly tied the record for biggest in Presidents Cup history.
Matsuyama posted three birdies to start the round, keeping the Internationals 1 up. It was still tight until the par-5 seventh, as Bae was the only one to birdie the hole. He then proceeded to birdie the eighth and ninth holes as the Internationals made the turn 4 up. The gallery around the ninth green chanted his name as he made his way to the 10th tee.
"I'm really glad to be here, because a lot of Korean people are coming out and supporting the International Team," Bae said. "It really means a lot."
Matsuyama added to the lead with a birdie from just inside 14 feet and followed with another birdie at the 11th, this time from 10 feet, to extend their consecutive holes won streak to five. With a half-point earlier in the day in foursomes, it was a productive day for the Asian duo.
"I don't speak a lot of English, but Sangmoon Bae does speak Japanese, and we were able to communicate in Japanese," Matsuyama said. "That really helped our chemistry.
U.S. Captain Jay Haas said he had high hopes for his duo, as neither player appeared in the morning foursomes. But they failed to win a hole, as both lost in four-balls for the second time this week (with different partners the first time).
Bae’s Presidents Cup record: 2-0-1 (2-0-0 in Fourballs)
Matsuyama’s Presidents Cup record: 2-4-2 (1-1-1)
Walker’s Presidents Cup record: 1-2-0 (0-2-0)
Kirk’s Presidents Cup record: 0-2-0 (0-2-0)
Phil Mickelson-Zach Johnson (U.S.) def. Adam Scott-Anirban Lahiri (Int.), 3 & 2: After sitting out the morning session, the veteran Americans quickly took control of the match and never trailed to claim their second match win of the win.
Mickelson’s early birdie from 10 feet set the tone. Scott and Lahiri then failed to match the U.S. birdies at the par-4 third, losing another hole. The Americans gave one back when Johnson had a “complete mess-up,” but the Internationals had problems of their own at the 11th to go 2 down, and then failed to birdie another par-5, the 13th, to lose that hole.
The Americans credited having the morning off as beneficial to their play in four-balls – and could be even more beneficial in Sunday singles. “I don’t think you can slight the fact that we have had some time off,” Johnson said. “We got to sleep in and we’re going to be fresh come tomorrow.”
Mickelson’s Presidents Cup record: 22-16-12 (9-5-6 in four-balls)
Johnson’s Presidents Cup record: 9-6-1 (3-2-1)
Scott’s Presidents Cup record: 12-17-4 (5-6-3)
Lahiri’s Presidents Cup record: 0-2-0 (0-1-0)
Louis Oosthuizen-Branden Grace (Int.) def. Bubba Watson-J.B. Holmes (U.S.), 1 up: The South African duo finished up a perfect run through the team sessions, becoming just the second Presidents Cup duo to go 4-0 in a single year, joining Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker in 2009.
“We're great mates and we come from a similar place back home,” Grace said. “We play a lot of golf together, so we know each other's game really well. It's just a great team effort.”
After winning three of the first four holes, the Internationals seemed ready to steamroll the Americans, but Watson and Holmes fought back with birdies at the fifth and sixth holes. A Watson birdie at the par-3 13th squared the match, but then Grace hit the decisive shot, chipping in for birdie at the par-4 16th to win the hole.
Grace then put the capper on a brilliant performance by knocking his approach at the par-5 18th to within 3 feet to match Watson’s similar shot for a tap-in birdie to halve the hole.
“I wasn't sharp this afternoon,” Oosthuizen said. “I had a few good shots but Branden was unbelievable. He started with three birdies in a row that got us going. I think we were about 10- or 11-under the two of us. He played great, just hats off to him today.”
Oosthuizen’s Presidents Cup record: 5-3-1 (3-1-0 in Fourballs)
Grace’s Presidents Cup record: 4-4-0 (2-2-0)
Watson’s Presidents Cup record: 5-3-1 (2-2-1)
Holmes’ Presidents Cup record: 2-1-1 (1-1-0)
Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Jason Day-Charl Schwartzel (Int.), 3 & 2: In a match that was completed in near-darkness, the Americans grabbed the final point of the day to split the four-ball session and take a one-point lead going into the 12 singles matches on Sunday.
Spieth, the recent FedExCup champ and world’s top-ranked player, put on a brilliant display with five birdies on the front nine, including a string of three straight to win the 7th, 8th and 9th holes and give the Americans a 2-up advantage at the turn. He was playing with Reed – his Ryder Cup partner from last year – for the first time this week after spending the first three sessions with Dustin Johnson.
Reed’s birdie at the 11th, followed by another Spieth birdie at 12, extended the lead to 4 up. It was then a matter of whether the Americans could close out the Internationals before play was suspended for darkness.
Spieth’s Presidents Cup record: 5-3-0 (2-2-0 in Fourballs)
Reed’s Presidents Cup record: 1-2-0 (1-0-0)
Day’s Presidents Cup record: 4-7-3 (3-2-1)
Schwartzel’s Presidents Cup record: 6-6-1 (4-2-0)
Jordan Spieth’s momentous hole out at The Presidents Cup