U.S. open up five-point lead in Presidents Cup

Sat Oct 5, 2013 7:50pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - The United States opened up a commanding five-point lead over the Internationals when the third day of the Presidents Cup ended on Saturday with four matches still to be completed following another day of foul weather.

Needing 17-1/2 points to retain the trophy, the Americans finished the day with 11-1/2 points to the International team's 6-1/2.

The Internationals, in dire need of a resurgence before Sunday's concluding singles, did make some inroads late on Saturday before play was suspended at a soaked Muirfield Village because of fading light.

Of the four foursomes matches still to be completed, the Internationals were leading in two, all square in one and trailling in the other.

However, Nick Price's Internationals will need to build further momentum when play resumes at 7.35 am local (1135 GMT) on Sunday if they are to avoid a fifth successive defeat in the biennial team competition, and an eighth in 10 editions.

With Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods providing a few moments of magic, the Americans had tightened their grip on the trophy with a superb display of golf in the morning's fourballs to lead by 10-1/2 points to 6-1/2.

Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner then beat the dusk to wrap up a 4&3 win over South African Richard Sterne and Australian Marc Leishman in the foursomes after Johnson spectacularly holed out from 115 yards to eagle the par-five 15th.

"We had some chances this morning and it went the U.S.'s way," said Price. "It could have gone our way. But we are only halfway through this competition. We still have another 16 points left.   Continued...

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. (L) shakes hands with International team player Ernie Els of South Africa after Mickelson and playing partner Keegan Bradley won their four ball match against Els and Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe at the 2013 Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio October 5, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Keane