Tiger Woods got his record 21st Presidents Cup win as the U.S. took a 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 lead over the International team in the rain-interrupted first day of the biennial golf tournament.
The Americans led in five of yesterday’s six matches when thunderstorms halted play for 90 minutes, and the international team rallied after the stoppage at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Woods, 37, who was paired with Matt Kuchar, had been tied with fellow American Jim Furyk with 20 Presidents Cup victories. Woods has a 21-14-1 record in the event.
“Kuch made a bunch of putts on the front nine, then I got it rolling there for a little bit,” Woods told reporters. “Then on the back nine, it was him or me on each hole.”
Two-man teams competed in fourball play yesterday, with each golfer playing his own ball and the lowest score winning the hole. The teams today play in foursomes, or alternating shots with the same ball.
The weekend schedule will feature fourballs tomorrow morning, followed by foursomes in the afternoon, with 12 singles matches the next day.
Woods and Kuchar won their match for the American team 5-and-4, meaning they held an unassailable five-hole lead with four holes to play, against Argentina’s Angel Cabrera and Australia’s Marc Leishman. The International team includes players from outside the U.S. and Europe.
PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson got another point for the U.S. team, winning 5-and-3 against South Africans Brenden Grace and Richard Sterne.
Steve Stricker, 46, and Jordan Spieth, 20, got the third win for the Americans with a 1-up victory against Ernie Els of South Africa and Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe. Spieth is the first U.S. PGA Tour rookie selected to play in the event.
“I can’t compare it to anything else,” Spieth said in a news conference. “Words can’t describe how much fun it was today.”
Americans Bill Haas and Webb Simpson tied their match against Masters Tournament winner Adam Scott of Australia and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, giving each side a half-point.
International duo Jason Day of Australia and Graham DeLaet of Canada won 1-up against Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker, and the visitors got their second point when South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were 2-and-1 victors against Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
The Americans are seeking their fifth straight championship in the Presidents Cup, which began in 1994. The U.S. holds a 7-1-1 lead in the biennial event.
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