Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rain slows play at Presidents Cup

DUBLIN, Ohio — Nick Price and Fred Couples stood behind the seventh green, just long enough to get a snapshot of the exceptional golf Friday at the Presidents Cup.

Jordan Spieth's 40-foot eagle putt grazed the edge of the cup. Branden Grace made a 25-foot birdie to halve the hole. Both captains gave high-fives and back slaps to players and caddies as they headed to the next hole.

It was like that all afternoon at Muirfield Village. Too bad it didn't last very long.

Fifteen minutes later, thunderstorms halted play for the second straight day. After a delay of nearly three hours, only two of the six foursomes matches were completed — big wins for each side. The Americans still had a one-point lead, and each team led two incomplete matches.

"It's going to be a long weekend, that's for sure," Australia's Adam Scott said.

The session was set to pick up today, with five four-ball matches and five more foursomes matches to follow. But more storms were forecast, especially Sunday.

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley shot 30 on the front nine, an astounding performance in foursomes. Only some sloppy play allowed the match to go 15 holes in a 4-and-3 win over Jason Day and Graham DeLaet.

"We were down but, boy, on 5 we just turned it on and played some of our best golf," Mickelson said.

Right behind them, Brendon de Jonge and Ernie Els never trailed in a 4-and-3 win over Hunter Mahan and Bill Hass.

The Americans led 4½-3½ with four matches to be decided.

Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar were 6 under through eight holes and led over Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel 1-up. Oosthuizen missed a short par putt on the ninth, and the former British Open champion made a greater blunder on par-3 No. 12. After Woods went over the green, Oosthuizen's 7-iron drifted right and hopped into the water. The Americans won with bogey.

Spieth and Steve Stricker were 3 up with four holes left. Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman led 1 up with five to go against Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker; Scott and Hideki Matsuyama were 4 up with seven holes left against Americans Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner.

LPGA: American Jessica Korda shot 5-under 68 for 132 total, and a two-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis (66) and China's Shanshan Feng (64), after two rounds of the Reignwood Classic in smog-shrouded Beijing. Smog delayed the start of today's third round. Tampa's Kristy McPherson (73) was tied for 38th at 145.