The Internationals stayed ahead of their second meeting in the Presidents’ Cup, but the United States saved 2.5 points to move the momentum to Melbourne.
The Ernie Els Internationals threatened to sweep all five blocks in a row on Friday before the seven-year-old American League champion rallied to win two of the last three races.
Birdies clutches by Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas ensured that Tiger Woods’ team finished the day with only 6.5-3.5 points at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Only once does a team come from behind after two sessions to win the Presidents’ Cup – the USA in 2005, when it ran 6.5-5.5 and won 18.5-15.5 in Virginia.
Leading 4-1 after the quadruple Thursday, the Internationals looked the way to secure another four points in their quest to claim a first Presidential title since 1998.
After Dustin Johnson’s unbeaten record in the four tournaments that ended in a 3 and 2 loss with Matt Kuchar against Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen, the Internationals stretched to 5-1.
While another 3-and-2 victory – this time for Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman over Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson – secured yet another point for the international team, Cantlay’s delayed heroes inspired the US counterattack.
The clash between Cantlay and Xander Schauffele and Joaquin Niemann and Adam Hadwin connected from the 15th hole until the former birdied the par-4 18th.
This spectacular 1-win win was a blow to the US, as Captain Woods and Thomas added another theme dramatically.
Through Level 17 through Hideki Matsuyama and Byeong Hun An, Woods created Thomas for the chance to win the race and held his nod to drain a remarkable long-range birdie that celebrates.
This result saw the 15-year-old Woods champion equal to Phil Mickelson’s record for most wins in the Pre-Cup with 26.
With the US in a roll, Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland are also fighting in the fifth and final bout to halve their fight with Cameron Smith and Im Sung-jae.
Fowler and Woodland had come out of the opening hole, but a pack of birdie – created by Woodland’s approach – tied things up to 17 against Smith and Im before pars in the last.
[t] Tiger Woods [t] World Cup President [t] Adam Scott [t] George Papadopoulos [t] Marc Leishman [t] Rickie Fowler [t] Gary Woodland [t] Adam Hadwin [t] Hideki Matsuyama [t] Patrick Coldlay [t] Justin Thomas [t] Xander Scafeele [t] Abraham Anscher