CHARLOTTE, NC — The International team battled to draw Saturday morning in the Presidents Cup. The way this week has gone, it almost felt like a win.
The Korean duo of Tom Kim and KH Lee won two late holes and closed out Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns on the 17th hole, ending the morning foursomes session at 2-2.
It was the first time the Americans did not win a session at Quail Hollow.
But it didn’t change the big picture.
This US team is so strong and deep that what felt like an off day meant losing no ground. It still had a 10-4 lead going into afternoon fourballs, now needing only five-and-a-half points out of 16 remaining to win the cup.
Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama finally got their first point of the week when it was least expected. They were 2 down after eight holes until winning the next five holes and putting away Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa, 3 and 2.
« Any victory against the US team has got to be really hard fought, » Scott said. « So this feels good. »
The other two matches were easily in American hands.
Max Homa is still having the week of his life. After his late heroics the night before, he partnered with Tony Finau in a 4-and-3 victory over Si Woo Kim and Cameron Davis, two of the bright spots for the International team this week.
Homa is now 3-0 in his debut playing in a cup.
And then there was Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas winning their third match in three tries this week, a 4-and-3 victory over Sungjae Im and Corey Conners.
Im gave the International side an early lead, but he was hurt by erratic play from Conners, who had a right miss he couldn’t solve. The International team lost three holes on the front nine by making bogey, and Spieth made a big birdie at the turn for a 2-up lead.
The match turned on a mistake by the International team, which was starting to match shots against the Americans.
Spieth missed a short birdie putt on the par-5 12th that would have given the Americans a 3-up lead. On the next hole, Im had a 15-foot birdie putt to cut the lead to 1 down. He missed on the high side and rolled out 7 feet, and Conners missed the par putt.
Suddenly, the Americans were 3 up and closed them out on the 15th when Spieth drove it into the stream to the left, only for Im to follow him with a shot in the water. The Americans won with a bogey and the match was over.
Spieth has never lost a Presidents Cup foursomes match, moving to 7-0 with four partners. As a partnership in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, Spieth and Thomas are 7-2.
They headed out in the afternoon trying to become the first US partnership to win all four matches in the Presidents Cup since Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in 2009 at Harding Park.