DCSIMG

Mickelson and Bradley get USA off to solid start

Fred Couples, left, and Phil Mickelson blend in nicely.  Picture: Reuters

Fred Couples, left, and Phil Mickelson blend in nicely. Picture: Reuters

  • by TRENT BAKER
 

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley were leading the charge as the United States enjoyed a decent start to the foursomes on the second day of the Presidents Cup before bad weather saw play suspended once again at Muirfield Village in Ohio.

Mickelson and Bradley, going out first, lost the opening hole after International pairing Jason Day and Graham DeLaet recorded a birdie three, but then hit back in style by winning four consecutive holes from the fifth – all of them with birdies.

That put the American duo three up after eight and Mickelson could have increased that lead on the ninth but saw his birdie putt come up just short as the hole was halved.

That group were on the tenth when heavy rain forced the teams off the course, with play being suspended due to the threat of lightning for the second successive day.

At that stage the US were up in three of the six matches as they sought to build on their one-point lead from the opening-day fourballs, with the International team leading in two.

Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth were one up on Branden Grace and Richard Sterne after seven, although the South African pair had trailed by two before winning the sixth with a par. Fred Couples’ American team were also one up in the fifth group to go out, where a birdie on the first from Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar saw them narrowly ahead of another South African partnership in major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

That was the day’s marquee match, featuring two triumphant combinations from Thursday’s opening fourball encounters, and world No 1 Woods set the tone for a contest of high quality when he struck his second shot to two feet for a conceded birdie at the par-four first. The next four holes were shared with a par, a birdie, a birdie and another birdie.

It was looking a little more promising for the Internationals, who have lost the last seven sessions of foursomes played at the Presidents Cup, on the leaderboard in the second and last matches out, where the pairings of Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge, and Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott, were holding the upper hand.

Els and Zimbabwe’s De Jonge were three up after nine against Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan after winning the second, third and fifth holes with two birdies and an eagle, while Japan’s Matsuyama and Masters champion Scott were leading by two after five.

The other match was all square, with Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker taking the lead against Angel Cabrera of Argentina and Australian Marc Leishman only for the International pairing to hit back on the sixth.

They were on the seventh when the weather halted proceedings for the second day in succession.

EARLY SCORES

Day 2 – Foursomes Mickelson/Bradley three up on Day/DeLaet after nine holes

Haas/Mahan three down to Els/De Jonge after nine holes

Stricker/Spieth one up on Grace/Sterne after seven holes

Simpson/Snedeker all square with Cabrera/Leishman after six holes

Kuchar/Woods one up on Oosthuizen/Schwartzel after five holes

Johnson/Dufner two down to Scott/Matsuyama after five holes

Day 1 – Fourballs: USA 3½ International 2½

 

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