Americans move closer to ninth win in a row at Presidents Cup




 

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth remained undefeated and the United States moved closer to a ninth consecutive Presidents Cup triumph early Saturday, grabbing a 10-4 lead over the Internationals.

The teams split four foursomes (alternate shot) matches ahead of four afternoon fourball (best ball) matches at Quail Hollow.

The US team stretched its Presidents Cup unbeaten streak in foursomes to 17 sessions, having not lost one in the format since 2005.

With 15.5 points needed to claim the Cup, the United States cannot capture the trophy before Sunday's 12 concluding singles matches.

The Americans own an 11-1-1 lead in the competition all-time and have never lost on home soil.

The hosts have 10 of the world's 16 top-ranked players to none for their global rivals after losing several top players who jumped from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf, making them ineligible.

Thomas and Spieth improved to 3-0 by defeating South Korean Im Sung-jae and Canada's Corey Conners 4&3 in a rematch of a 2&1 victory Thursday.

"We didn't quite have our best stuff but we made our putts when we needed to," Spieth said.

Spieth, a three-time major champion, and Thomas, who won his first PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in 2017 and his second last May, lost the second hole to trail for the first time this week but won the third and never trailed again.

Spieth sank a 21-foot birdie putt to win the ninth, giving the US duo a 2-up lead at the turn. They parred to win 13 and closed it out at 15 when Im found water off the tee on the way to a double bogey.

Max Homa, 3-0 after two prior 1-up wins, sank a 15th-hole par putt from just inside six feet to seal a 4&3 victory for himself and Tony Finau over Australian Cam Davis and South Korean Kim Si-woo.

Homa sank a seven-foot birdie putt to win the eighth hole, Finau made an eight-foot birdie putt to win the ninth and they won the 10th with a par to go 3-up before Homa's clincher.

"This week has been a dream come true," Homa said. "I'm having a lot of fun."

The unbeaten US pairing of Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and 2021 PGA playoff winner Patrick Cantlay sat out the early session.

- Scott and Matsuyama win -

Masters winners Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Adam Scott of Australia, who lost 6&5 Thursday to Cantlay and Schauffele, delivered the second Internationals victory of the event by downing Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa 3&2.

Morikawa chipped in for birdie to win the eighth hole for a 2-up US advantage.

But the Internationals won the next five holes to seize command, taking the ninth and 13th with pars and the rest on Scott birdie putts at 10, 11 and 12. They closed out the win by tying the par-5 16th.

"Neither of us were feeling great but we stuck in there," Scott said. "Any victory against the US team is hard fought so this feels good."

South Koreans Lee Kyoung-hoon and Kim Joo-hyung defeated top-ranked Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 2&1, keeping the US duo winless after three matches.

Kim sank a 15-foot birdie putt to win the par-3 10th and a 36-foot eagle putt to win the 11th, but the match was tied after Burns made a birdie to win the par-3 14th.

Lee sank a 14-foot birdie putt to win the 15th hole for a 1-up lead and Kim made a short par putt to win the par-5 16th for a 2-up edge. They tied the 17th hole to seal the triumph.

"I felt pressure that I never felt in any other golf tournament," Lee said.

js/mw

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