Grace’s heroics keep International team one point back of Americans in Presidents Cup
Branden Grace delivered two big shots in gathering darkness Saturday that kept the International team within one point of the Americans going into a final day at a Presidents Cup that finally has some drama in Incheon, South Korea.
The Americans had a 9½-8½ lead with 12 singles matches remaining, the smallest margin going into a Sunday in 10 years at this event.
That’s what the International team wanted — and needed — in the Presidents Cup. The Americans have won the gold trophy five straight times, and the lone International victory was in 1998 in Australia.
“We need to win,” Louis Oosthuizen said. “This is huge for us.”
The South African duo of Grace and Oosthuizen have been the driving force for captain Nick Price, becoming the first International tandem to go 4- 0 in team matches. Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in 2009 are the only U.S. team to do that.
Jordan Spieth also won two matches Saturday, making two clutch putts in morning foursomes and holing a bunker shot in the afternoon four balls. Spieth was 8 under par on his own ball. The only drama was whether to finish: They played the final hole in the dark to avoid having to return to complete it Sunday morning.
PhilMickelson and Zach Johnson, meanwhile, never trailed in their four-balls victory.
The singles matches were moved up one hour because of rain in the forecast, with Oosthuizen facing Patrick Reed in the opening match. U. S. captain Jay Haas chose to put Spieth in the ninth match against Marc Leishman, passing on the chance to pit him against Jason Day.
LPGA: Jessica Korda took a two-stroke lead in the LPGA Malaysia, shooting a bogey-free 6-under 65 in sweltering conditions.
Korda missed a birdie chance on the par-4 18th when her six-footer slid by on the left side, leaving the 22-year-old American at 12-under 201 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Fellow American Stacy Lewis and South Korea’s Ha Na Jang were tied for second.
The third-ranked Lewis, winless this season, matched Korda with a 65. Jang had a 71.
Second-ranked Lydia Ko was three strokes back at 9 under, along with Xi Yu Lin and defending champion Shanshan Feng.
CHAMPIONS: Kenny Perry shot a 4-under 68 on a cool and rainy day to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship in Cary, N.C.
Perry is at 8 under for the tournament, one ahead of Joe Durant (68). Lee Janzen (68) and first-round leader Bernhard Langer (73) are at 6 under. Another stroke back are Tom Lehman (71) and John Riegger (72).
Perry, who won this tournament in 2011, is looking for his ninth win on the tour.