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11 Oct 2009 07:48
A ruthless Tiger Woods and an inspired Steve Stricker tamed Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and South Korea’s Yang Yong-eun 4&2 in fourballs on Saturday as the United States tightened their grip on the Presidents Cup.
A long, gruelling day at a chilly and overcast Harding Park ended with the US and Internationals splitting the afternoon’s five fourball matches but the home team will take a commanding 12-½ to 9-½ lead into Sunday’s singles.
The US, winners of five-of-seven Presidents Cups, need only five points from the 12 singles matches on Sunday to clinch victory, leaving Greg Norman’s men with a daunting uphill climb.
No team has come from behind on the final day to lift the Presidents Cup.
With Woods doing the heavy lifting in the morning foursomes, Stricker stepped forward in the fourball, dropping seven birdies as the pair roared into a six-up lead.
Woods and Stricker looked ready to complete a quick afternoon’s work until the Asians dug in their heels, winning three straight holes from the 13th before finally conceding defeat on the 16th green.
With their victory, Woods and Stricker stretched their record to an unblemished 4-0, marking the first time the world number one has won four matches at a Presidents Cup.
Canadian Mike Weir and South African Ernie Els picked up the first point of the afternoon session, crushing Justin Leonard and Zach Johnson 5&3 to trim the US lead to 10-8.
Els had laid the foundation for the victory when he holed out from a greenside bunker at the 11th then drained a 25-foot birdie putt at the 12th to give the duo a four-up lead.
The Internationals’ fight back continued to pick up steam when Australian duo Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby saw off British Open champion Stewart Cink and US Open winner Lucas Glover 2&1 to further cut into the American advantage.
But the tide turned when Jim Furyk and Anthony Kim scored a two-up decision over Argentine Angel Cabrera and Australian Adam Scott before Woods and Stricker’s victory.
Phil Mickelson and Sean O’Hair never led against Fiji’s Vijay Singh and South African Tim Clark but fought back from two down on the back nine to earn a half. - Reuters
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