Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Woods without a point; US lead


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MELBOURNE: The Americans kept the lead in the Presidents Cup, and they still don’t have a point from Tiger Woods.

Woods is 0-2 for the first time ever in this event, and the first time in any team competition since he and Phil Mickelson lost their opening two matches at the 2004 Ryder Cup.

Aaron Baddeley earned a small measure of redemption by making a strong par on the 18th hole as he and Jason Day finished the job in fourballs for a 1-up win over Woods and Dustin Johnson.

In the opening round, Baddeley contributed to his side losing the last two holes and having to settle for a half-point.

Woods was the only American without a point, although his game has been decent.

His partnership — Steve Stricker in foursomes Thursday, Johnson in fourballs on Friday — have won one hole. That came on the fourth hole when Woods rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt, complete with a fist pump that is rarely seen these days.

All that mattered was his teammates taking on the worst kind of wind at Royal Melbourne and winning three matches to assure themselves the lead going into a double session on Saturday.

The wind was vicious, and out of the north. Instead of a fourballs session loaded with birdies, most players were happy with pars. That included Woods, who along with Johnson had a tough time getting it close to the hole for a good look at birdie.

“Just trying to hit the greens, that was heck of an accomplishment,” Woods said.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, the leadoff match for the second straight day, again beat Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa, closing them out on the second hole. Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk also remained perfect, with Furyk making a birdie on the 17th for a 2-and-1 win over Adam Scott and K.T. Kim. Stricker was paired with Matt Kuchar, only it was Kuchar who holed all the big putts in a 4-and-3 win over Robert Allenby and Y.E. Yang.

At worst, the Americans would have a 7-5 lead, with 10 points at stake on Saturday. (Agencies)


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