Sun, Sep 25, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Goosen, Scott keep team ahead of US

PRO GOLF TOUR International team partners Retief Goosen and Adam Scott are now 2-0 against the US, keeping their squad a point ahead of the Americans

AP , GAINESVILLE, VIRGINIA

Peter Lonard of Australia hits to the fourth hole during the better-ball matches in the Presidents Cup at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

More great play from Retief Goosen and Adam Scott helped the International team keep their slim lead over the US at 6-5 after better-ball matches in the Presidents Cup on Friday.

Goosen and Scott remained perfect at 2-0, along with Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank who prevented the International team from an even larger lead by rallying to win their match 2 and 1 against Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir.

Also, Internationals Michael Campbell and Vijay Singh failed to capitalize on great opportunities at the 18th hole, both of them settling for halves.

Campbell's wedge to the 18th hit the pin and rolled back into the rough, then his belly wedge rimmed in and out.

Singh, playing with Tim Clark, stuffed a wedge into 3 feet for birdie on the 17th to square their match, then had a chance to beat Fred Funk and Stewart Cink when he hit a towering shot out of the rough to 15 feet. But the birdie putt never had a chance, dipping well below the cup for a halve.

Still, it set the stage for what should be a pivotal third round on Saturday with five alternate-shot matches in the morning and five better-ball matches in the afternoon.

"With a 36-hole day, one side can get a lot of momentum going," Leonard said.

The crowd warmed up to the action, especially after a 1-hour storm delay as all the matches were on the back nine.

The fans were far more vocal in the afternoon, as loud cheers rang out at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, with only murmurs and grudging applause whenever the International team made a putt.

Some even cheered when Campbell missed an 8-foot birdie putt to stay 1 up on the 17th hole.

"That's all part of the game over here in America," the New Zealander said.

"A guy said to me over the putt, `Miss the putt.' It's pretty unfair. But once again, it's actually a good thing for me personally. It really keeps me going."

It fired up the Americans, too, especially after they struggled just to stay in the game.

"It's contagious," Chris DiMarco said.

Even so, US captain Jack Nicklaus was disturbed by a gallery that ignored the International team, and even spoke to the fans at one point.

"I said, `Hey guys, you can root if you want to for the American team, I think that's fine, but when the International team hits a good shot, I think they deserve a round of applause in appreciation,'" Nicklaus said. "Nick O'Hern hit about a 25-footer and you could almost hear a pin drop. I didn't like that at all."

O'Hern and Peter Lonard easily beat Davis Love III and Kenny Perry, leaving that American team 0-2.

Adam Scott carried the load in his and Goosen's match against David Toms and Fred Couples, and the International pair raced to a 4-up lead through six holes. The Americans tried to peck away at the lead, and got the deficit down to one hole until neither Couples nor Toms could manage a par on the 15th hole.

Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk were the last match out against Australians Stuart Appleby and Mark Hensby, mostly to give Furyk time to heal his sore ribs. When he arrived on the first tee, Nicklaus checked on his health, and Furyk waved both hands at him to signal he was fine.

Turns out it was Woods who was hurt. He began to suffer from back spasms on the sixth hole, when he hit a shot and his knees buckled. He said it was part of his ribs, which affected his upper back, and it had been bothering him all week.

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