Unbeaten Tiger sparks US to Presidents Cup lead


Tiger Woods AFP PHOTO

COLUMBUS: Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar won twice Saturday to stay undefeated and the United States seized a 11 1/2-6 1/2 lead over the Internationals on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the storm-hit Presidents Cup.

Top-ranked Woods and Kuchar edged Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Australian Adam Scott 1-up in four-ball to stand 3-0 in the golf showdown at soggy Muirfield Village.

The Americans, who went 4-1 Saturday in four-ball and 2-2 in foursome matches interrupted by a Friday storm, need only six of 16 points available Sunday to win the trophy for the fifth time in a row and go 8-1-1 in the rivalry.

“The US has really been unrelenting,” Internationals captain Nick Price said. “They have played superbly.”

Woods, a 14-time major winner who took five titles and the Player of the Year award this season, has a record 23 Presidents Cup match wins but is fatigued.

“Tiger is honestly beat up. But Tiger is playing his tail off,” US captain Fred Couples said. “He’s a little sore and a little battered and this course, the ball is not rolling, it’s playing much harder and much longer so it’s tougher on everybody.”

Heavy rain drenched the course for a third day in a row, pushing the end of four foursomes matches to Sunday with 12 concluding singles matches moved to Sunday morning to try and escape expected afternoon storms.

In the only afternoon foursome match to finish, Jason Dufner eagled the par-5 15th for a 4 and 3 victory for him and Zach Johnson over Australian Marc Leishman and South Africa’s Richard Sterne. Two down after seven, they won six of the last eight holes.

The Internationals led in two suspended matches and the US team in one with the other level as darkness fell.

The Internationals need 11 wins in 16 matches to win.

Woods, a five-time winner of the US PGA Memorial event played at Muirfield Village, and reigning Memorial champion Kuchar finished a 4-and-2 foursomes win over South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen before facing Matsuyama and Masters champion Scott.

Matsuyama won two of the first three holes with birdies but Woods two of the next three with birdies. Matsuyama sank a five-foot par putt to win 10 but Woods responded with a birdie to win 13, Kuchar birdied 14 and Woods had an eagle conceded at the par-5 15th for a 2-up US edge.



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