U.S. lead Internationals by a point at Cup

Thu Oct 3, 2013 7:38pm EDT
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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...

U.S. teammates Tiger Woods (R) and Phil Mickelson watch play after finishing their matches during the opening Four-ball matches for the 2013 Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Keane