It’s one big party for Lefty, Yanks
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner rehearsed the dance from “Three Amigos.” The only question was whether to use it at the Presidents Cup, and as the veteran of 23 team events, Mickelson concluded it would need to be a big moment.
Their match was all square on the 18th hole yesterday. Mickelson was 12 feet away for birdie. A victory would give the Americans a record lead.
“If this putt goes in,” Mickelson said he told his rookie partner, “we’re going to dance.”
This turned out to be one big dance party for an American team that has gone nearly two decades without losing. They hammered the International teams on the back nine to go unbeaten in fourballs and build an 8-2 lead, the largest margin after two sessions since the Presidents Cup began in 1994.
Mickelson had his 24th match victory to tie the Presidents Cup record held by Tiger Woods, and he set a record with his 10th victory in fourballs.
Mickelson and his teammates have followed the script set out by U.S. captain Steve Stricker to win every session. They won handily in the other three matches. The other match was a halve, but even in that one, Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin had a 2-up lead with four holes to play until Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed rallied. The Americans nearly won that one, too, except that Spieth narrowly missed birdie putts on the last two holes.
“Our guys stepped up again,” Stricker said. “They have a knack for doing that. To finish like that is huge for us going into tomorrow.”
Mathematically, the International team could be done today, the first day of a double session — four matches of foursomes in the morning, following by four matches of fourballs in the afternoon. The Americans are 71⁄2 points away from clinching the cup.
“I think we saw the strength of the U.S. team come out today,” Price said.
Price was not about to give up, hopeful of gaining some momentum in the morning and riding it into the afternoon ahead of the 12 singles matches on the final day.
“We’re only 10 points through 30. There’s 20 points left,” Price said.