CHARLOTTE, N.C. : The United States will not clinch the Presidents Cup on Saturday but continued to close in on the golden trophy after splitting the morning foursomes (alternate shot) 2-2 with a scrappy International team desperate to get back into the fight.
The U.S. have dominated the biennial competition with an 11-1-1 record and started the day with an 8-2 lead and in position to register a Presidents Cup first – clinching the Cup on Saturday.
With two sessions scheduled for a marathon day (foursomes and fourballs) the Americans had targeted the 15 1/2 total points needed to claim the title for a 12th time and extend their unbeaten run on home soil.
But the Cup will be decided in Sunday’s singles no matter happens in the afternoon fourballs after Australian Adam Scott and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama beat Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young 3&2 blocking the Americans from getting the job done early.
The Internationals got another point when the South Korean pair of K.H. Lee and Kim Joo-hyung took down the U.S. all-star pairing of world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 2&1 but the task ahead of captain Trevor Immelman’s men remains a daunting one.
The U.S. will take a commanding 10-4 lead into the afternoon fourballs with the underdog Internationals trying to chip away at that advantage to have any realistic chance of pulling off an upset on Sunday.
A long day began in the dawn chill and dewy fairways but the early start did not stop fans from packing into the massive first tee stands, the pro-American crowd sending off captain Davis Love III’s men to what they hoped would be another day of domination.
Major winners Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were sent off first and set the tone powering to a 4&3 win over South Korea’s Im Sung-jae and Canadian Corey Connors, improving their record at Quail Hollow to 3-0-0.
Tony Finau and Max Homa would beat South Korea’s Kim Si-woo and Australian Cam Davis to add another point to the American cause before the U.S. charge ran out of steam.
Partnered in every session, Scheffler and Burns again failed to deliver a win as the Koreans broke open a tight match winning holes 15 and 16 to snatch a full point.
Young and Morikawa had appeared on their way to win leading 1-up at the turn but suffered a back nine collapse as Scott and Matsuyama won four straight holes from the 10th to turn the match.