PGA Tour

US pummel Internationals in march toward Presidents Cup

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Dustin Johnson (Getty)
Dustin Johnson (Getty)

Jersey City - The United States were marching toward a 10th Presidents Cup crown on Saturday, winning three of four morning foursomes and halving another against an International team fighting for survival.

The Americans headed into the afternoon fourball matches leading 11.5 to 2.5.

An afternoon sweep would give the Americans the 15.5 points they need to win the biennial match play crown and make Sunday's 12 singles matches moot.

"It's very hard," International captain Nick Price admitted of the task of maintaining morale among his players.

"These guys are trying. It doesn't look like we are trying hard, but we are trying very hard.

"The guys are obviously a little down," Price added. "We've just got to keep plugging along. We're not going to lay down. These guys are great competitors and we're not laying down."

The Internationals were in desperate straits going into Saturday, facing an unprecedented six-point, two-day deficit.

The writing appeared to be on the wall when Australian Marc Leishman splashed the Internationals' first tee shot of the day into the water.

Although Leishman and Jason Day then rallied to lead Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed 1-up through eight holes, it was the Americans who emerged with a 4 & 3 victory.

After squaring the match at the ninth, Spieth and Reed won the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th to close out the match.

World number one Dustin Johnson and veteran Matt Kuchar beat Australian Adam Scott and Canadian Adam Hadwin 4 & 3 and Phil Mickeson and Kevin Kisner downed Jhonattan Vegas and Emiliano Grillo 2 & 1.

The International super-duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace grabbed half a point in the final match, halving their contest with Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler.

But the Internationals need more, and in a bid to energize his team for the fourballs, Price opted to break up the Grace-Oosthuizen pairing and the all-Aussie duo of Day and Leishman.

Oosthuizen will team with Day against Spieth and Reed in the first afternoon match.

Grace will play with Leishman against Johnson and US Open champion Brooks Koepka in the anchor match.

In other fourball matches, Thomas and Daniel Berger will take on Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Vegas and Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell take on South Korean Kim Si-Woo and India's Anirban Lahiri.

"We'll see how it goes," said Price, whose team just hasn't had the firepower to rebound against a US team that has combined for 17 US PGA Tour titles this season, including the three most recent major championships.

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