The United States made a big push at the end of Day 2 at Royal Melbourne in Australia to make things competitive. Still, there’s work to do if the Americans are going to make sure they don’t lose the Presidents Cup for just the second time in the event’s history.
Here is what is happening:
First session of Day 3: Better-ball format
Clearly there is a lesson to be learned in this: Don’t mess with Justin Thomas in these competitions. He is 3-0 in this Presidents Cup — two outings with Tiger Woods and now this one with Fowler — to raise his record between the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup to 10-2-1. What was just as clear Saturday was that Li seemed overwhelmed by the moment. He made a mess at the second hole — playing out of turn, then forced to hit again, a shot that hit a tree. Li sat the first two days, the only player to do so. Once the U.S. took the lead at the fifth thanks to a Fowler birdie, the Americans never let the Internationals back in.
ESPN Associate Editor
We might be calling Justin Thomas “The Postman” (sorry, Poults) by the end of this Presidents Cup.
Ancer could be having his star turn. In his first Presidents Cup appearance — he’s also the first player from Mexico to compete in the event — he is now 3-0 in three matches. He’s won each match with a different partner: Louis Oosthuizen, then Leishman, then Im. In putting away this victory, Ancer made birdies on the final three holes. Not to be overshadowed, Im has not lost in his first Presidents Cup; he is 2-0-1 through three matches. Cantlay and Schauffele, in their third consecutive match together, never had a lead and didn’t win a hole until the 12th. It was the only one the two Americans won.
ESPN Associate Editor
Abraham Ancer is a rolled gold star for the Internationals, while Sungjae Im isn’t bad either.
If it wasn’t evident before this session, it’s obvious now: The Reed/Simpson pairing at this Presidents Cup did not work. If the U.S. team fails to win the Cup for just the second time in the history of the event, putting Reed/Simpson out there three times could be the decision that haunts captain Woods the most. Reed, the lightning rod entering this event after a rules fiasco a week ago at the Hero World Challenge, and Simpson never really threatened in any of the three losses they suffered in three matches. They lost the first one 4 and 3, the second 3 and 2 and the third 5 and 3.
Both Americans have had a session of rest; Kuchar sat Day 1, Finau watched Day 2. Both are searching for their first point of the event. The International side entered this event hoping Scott would carry them; so far, he has. Scott is 2-0, including a win alongside An during the first four-ball matches of this competition.
Prediction: Scott/An win 1 up.