Grace’s hero­ics keep In­ter­na­tional team one point back of Amer­i­cans in Pres­i­dents Cup

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS -

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.

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