U.S. lead Internationals by a point at Cup
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - The United States needed a par on the final hole to grab the overall lead over the Internationals on the first day of the Presidents Cup after almost throwing away a commanding advantage following a lengthy weather delay.
Steve Stricker calmly pared the 18th hole to secure the decisive point that allowed the Americans to finish the opening fourballs leading by 3-1/2 points to 2-1/2.
At one point, the Americans led in all six encounters at Muirfield Village Golf Club but South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel inspired a late fightback by the Internationals.
Oosthuizen and Schwartzel came from two down after seven holes to beat British Open champion Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley 2&1 in a contest of high quality involving four former major winners.
Bradley put the Americans two up by sinking a six-foot eagle putt at the par-five seventh but the South Africans won the next two holes with birdies, Oosthuizen draining a 16-footer at the eighth and Schwartzel tapping in a two-footer at the ninth.
Oosthuizen then put the Internationals one up by knocking in a three-foot birdie putt at the par-five 11th, and his good friend Schwartzel sealed victory with a birdie at the 17th.
"Me and Charl played really well," said 2010 British Open winner Oosthuizen. "We did proper better ball. When he was out of the hole, I played well. When I was out of it, he hit some amazing shots."
Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, agreed. Continued...