Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

GOLF

U.S. leads in Presidents Cup

Justin Leonard's missed putt on the 18th hole lets the International team get to within 31/2-21/2.

October 09, 2009|Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — One putt changed everything except the lead Thursday in the Presidents Cup.

The Americans were poised to seize control in the opening session of foursomes at Harding Park, already assured of the lead and on the verge of winning the final match for a two-point advantage.

Justin Leonard had a three-foot birdie putt to win -- a putt he first thought had been conceded -- and was stunned when the putt caught the right edge of the cup and spun away.

The match was halved, and the Americans had to settle for a 3 1/2 -2 1/2 advantage.

"We wanted to get out of the day with pretty close to a push, and I'm very, very happy," International captain Greg Norman said.

He was fortunate for that.

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were dominant from the start, playing bogey-free in the alternate-shot format and teaming for six birdies in a 6-and-4 victory over Geoff Ogilvy and 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa.

Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim came to life late, closing with four birdies to give the Americans the first point of the matches with a 3-and-2 victory over Mike Weir and Tim Clark.

The momentum switched to American red on the scoreboard late on the cloudy, cool afternoon on this public course south of San Francisco. The final push figured to come from Leonard and Jim Furyk, who made a furious rally in the middle of the match and surged two holes ahead of Retief Goosen and Y.E. Yang with two holes to play.

Goosen holed a birdie putt on the 17th to send the match to the par-five 18th, and the South African missed the green to the right. Leonard hit a splendid fairway metal to the middle of the green, setting up what appeared to be a two-putt birdie.

Furyk lagged to three feet, the International team got up-and-down for birdie, and Goosen looked over at Furyk as if wondering why Leonard even needed to putt. Eventually, the South African realized the putt meant something.

Did it ever.

The Americans were ready to celebrate another point. The International team was prepared for another big deficit.

"I just hit a bad putt," Leonard said. "I knew I was going to need to make that little putt. Unfortunately, I missed it."

Next up are six more matches today, this time best-ball.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|