Mon, Oct 12, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Woods, Stricker keep US in lead

AP , SAN FRANCISCO

Tiger Woods’ steel and Steve Stricker’s sensational work on the greens kept the pair perfect in four Presidents Cup matches on Saturday and lifted the US to a commanding three-point lead.

The Americans lead 12.5-9.5 and needed five points from yesterday’s 12 singles matches in order to win their sixth title in eight editions of the event that pits the US against a team from all corners of the globe except Europe.

In characteristic style, 14-time major champion Woods engineered a come-from-behind victory in their morning foursomes in the final two holes.

The world No. 1 then had little to do but applaud as Stricker made seven birdies en route to their afternoon four-ball triumph, the first time the same duo have won four matches in a single Presidents Cup.

Woods and Stricker were 1-down and facing their first defeat in three matches in the foursomes against Canadian Mike Weir and South African Tim Clark.

In the afternoon four-ball, Woods and Stricker built a 6-up lead through 12 holes over South Korea’s Yang Yong-Eun and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa.

The Asian duo then won the next three holes with birdies to keep the match alive, before Woods and Stricker polished them off 4 and 2.

American Phil Mickelson remained unbeaten, if not quite perfect, in four matches with different partners.

After notching wins on the first two days with Anthony Kim and Justin Leonard, Mickelson teamed twice on Saturday with Sean O’Hair.

They cruised to a 5 and 3 victory over South African Retief Goosen and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas in foursomes and rallied to halve their four-ball contest with Fiji’s Vijay Singh and South African Tim Clark.

Both Mickelson and O’Hair missed birdie attempts at the final hole that would have given them a victory.

Mickelson and O’Hair had been 2-down through 11, then Mickelson birdied 12 and O’Hair 13.

At 14 Clark got it so close that his birdie was conceded, then Mickelson rolled in a 40-foot bomb.

Jim Furyk was a two-time winner on Saturday. He and Leonard wore down South African Ernie Els and Australian Adam Scott 4 and 2 in foursomes, then Furyk and Kim held off Argentina’s Angel Cabrera and Scott for a 2-up four-ball win.

South Korea’s PGA Champion Yang and Japanese phenom Ishikawa delivered the Internationals’ only foursomes victory was a 3 and 2 triumph over Kenny Perry and Zach Johnson.

Hunter Mahan and British Open champion Stewart Cink denied the Internationals another victory when they won the last hole of their foursomes against Singh and Australian Robert Allenby to halve after trailing from the fifth hole.

Els and Weir regrouped to notch a 5 and 3 four-balls victory over Johnson and Leonard, and Allenby teamed with compatriot Geoff Ogilvy for a 2 and 1 victory over Cink and US Open champ Lucas Glover.

Even with those victories, the Internationals face a daunting task. No team has rallied from a three-point deficit on the final day to win the title, and America have never lost on home soil.

■MADRID MASTERS

AFP, MADRID

England’s Ross McGowan stormed into a seven-shot lead at the Madrid Masters after an incredible third round of 60 on Saturday.

The 27-year-old began the penultimate day one shot behind co-leaders Sergio Garcia and David Drysdale in joint-second place, but went into the clubhouse seven shots ahead after a round featuring two eagles, 10 birdies and two bogeys.

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