Presidents Cup 2013: Highlighting Friday's Key Matches

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Presidents Cup 2013: Highlighting Friday's Key Matches
David Cannon/Getty Images

After an entertaining start to the weekend, there will be some critical matchups Friday in the 2013 Presidents Cup that could swing the momentum to either the United States team or the International team.

The United States team got out to a 3.5 to 2.5 lead over the International team thanks to wins from Steve Stricker/Jordan Spieth, Matt Kucher/Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson/Jason Dufner.  A one-point lead isn't very big, however, and the U.S. has a chance to increase that lead Friday.

Like I said earlier, there are some big matches to watch for, so let's take a look at the ones that will be the most intense.

 

Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley vs. Jason Day/Graham DeLaet

David Cannon/Getty Images

After falling Thursday 2 and 1 to Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley are going to need to pick it up against a very dangerous pairing.

Mickelson had a solid season during the 2013 Tour, grabbing two tournament wins, with one of them coming at the Open Championship in very exciting fashion.  Lefty and Bradley were able to go 2-up Thursday but gave up the lead on the eighth and the ninth holes before their opponents started pulling away.

The International team will have one of its best golfers on the team in Jason Day taking on these two Americans.  He had one heck of a season, finishing in the top 10 in three of the four majors.  Day and Graham DeLaet were able to pull off a big comeback against Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker after going down three through just six holes.  

This is one of those must-win matchups for the International team.  Day and DeLaet were able to get one of just two wins for their side Thursday, and they need to keep this USA pairing from taking the point Friday.

 

Steve Stricker/Jordan Spieth vs. Branden Grace/Richard Sterne

This is probably the most entertaining pairing in the whole tournament for the USA team with 46-year old Steve Stricker paired with 20-year old Jordan Spieth.

Spieth is starting to become a rising star in this sport, pulling off some big rounds in his first career season which included an incredibly exciting win at the John Deere Classic.  To make things even better, he had a hole-in-one Thursday thanks to a beautiful shot on the 12th hole.

Spieth and Stricker were able to control their first match, never giving the International side a lead through 18 holes.  It was one of the more dominant performances of the first day, so this pairing seems to have been a pretty great idea.

It was not a good day for Branden Grace and Richard Sterne to kick things off, as they were dominated by Johnson and Dufner.  The match ended early after the U.S. took a five-hole lead on the 15th, giving it the point.

This is going to have to be a bounce-back round for the International pairing Friday, but that's not going to be very likely.  Still, regardless of how it ends, it's going to be very entertaining watching Spieth and Stricker go at it again.

 

Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson vs. Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama

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We have three golfers with major championship victories under their belts, so what's not to like about this matchup?

Dufner was able to grab his first career major victory this year at the PGA Championship, while Johnson won his major at the Masters in 2007.  They also combined for 13 top-10 finishes this season.  The two dominated in their first round Thursday, beating Grace and Stern with a 5 and 3 domination.  

Adam Scott was able to take home his first career major this year as well, winning the Masters.  He had two wins in 16 events, earning $4.89 million this year.  Hideki Matsuyama was a surprising, emerging golfer this season, finishing tied for tenth at the U.S. Open and tied for sixth at The Open Championship.

These two fought in a tough one against Bill Haas and Webb Simpson, halving the round thanks to a late comeback that ended on the very last hole.  Despite never leading at any point over the 18 holes, they were able to pull out half of a point.

There isn't going to be a more exciting pairing than this one Friday.  With three great golfers and an emerging talent, there are bound to be plenty of things to talk about from these 18 holes of action.

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