The Americans maintained control of the lead in the race for the Presidents Cup on Friday. The weather-delayed second day at Muirfield Golf Village in Dublin, Ohio rendered a few dominant performances. Play had to be suspended due to darkness after rained called a halt to the action earlier in the day.
The players did return to the course at 5:45 p.m. ET, but they ran out of daylight and will have to finish up on Saturday. Behind a stellar effort from Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, the Americans did enough to break even on the day. Each side came away with one point after two matches completed, and the Americans lead 4.5 to 3.5.
Friday's play featured six matches of foursomes. Maintaining continuity in alternate-shot play can be difficult, but Mickelson and Bradley formed a golfing Voltron and slayed the Robeast—aka the course and their opponents, Jason Day and Graham DeLaet.
Here's a look at the standings at the time play halted, per PresidentsCup.com.
Today's Results and Overall Points Standings
|Matchup||Winners/Leaders and Score||Points Gained|
|Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley vs. Jason Day and Graham DeLaet||Mickelson and Bradley (four and three)||1|
|Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan vs. Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge||Els and de Jonge (four and three)||1|
|Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth vs. Branden Grace and Richard Sterne||Stricker and Spieth (three up through 14)|
|Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker vs. Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman||Cabrera and Leishman (one up through 13)|
|Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar vs. Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel||Woods and Kuchar (three up through 12)|
|Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson vs. Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott||Matsuyama and Scott (four up through 12)|
Match Recaps and Highlights
Mickelson and Bradley vs. Day and DeLaet
If you could combine Mickelson and Bradley, you might have the world's greatest golfer. Playing alternate shots through the first nine holes, the duo was six under par.
It would have been difficult for any twosome to beat them on Friday. Day and DeLaet tried to come on after the delay but couldn't close the gap.
On Thursday, Woods and Kuchar had the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air handshake; on Friday, Lefty and Bradley had this, per CBS Eye on Golf:
Keegan and Phil are back - https://t.co/Z5aDXvDvEo— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) October 4, 2013
Haas and Mahan vs. Els and de Jonge
Els is the most decorated match-play competitor, but de Jonge has been the star of this duo over the past two days. The 33-year-old from Zimbabwe got his team off to a fast start with a hole-winning birdie on the second. Els and de Jonge never looked back from there.
Here's an example of the team's handy work on the second hole.
Stricker and Spieth vs. Grace and Sterne
The American duo was close to clinching the win when play was suspended. They will have to try and lock things down on Saturday. They are three up with just four holes left to play, so it would take a pretty big collapse to lose their lead.
Spieth and Stricker earned one of six birdies on the day on the 10th hole.
Stricker has been putting like a genius in Dublin, and Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports drops this true but tough reference to past American Ryder Cup failures.
Somewhat cruel to say but if Stricks played - and putted - like this at Medinah, the US would be holding the @rydercup— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) October 4, 2013
Woods and Kuchar vs. Oosthuizen and Schwartzel
This match was extremely well played throughout. Woods and Kuchar would have blown away lesser men with their performance, but the South African duo kept it close. Lusetich captures the dynamic in this tweet:
Schwartzel and Louis are 4 under thru 7 playing alternate shot and 2 Down! Tiger/Kuchar are 6 under. #PresCup— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) October 4, 2013
Woods and Kuchar are still in control at three up with six holes left, but Oosthuizen and Schwartzel have a shot.
Watch Woods sink a birdie here on the sixth hole.
Simpson and Snedeker vs. Cabrera and Leishman
Cabrera and Leishman were blown away on Thursday by Woods and Kuchar. On Friday, they played much better, and it was mostly due to Cabrera's resurgence. He saved par on six and 11 to take advantage of American bogeys.
His steadiness is a big reason he and Leishman have a one-up lead heading into Saturday.
Dufner and Johnson vs. Matsuyama and Scott
Adam Scott has been a machine over the last two days, and Matsuyama is following suit. This team holds a huge lead over Dufner and Johnson thanks to a bogey-free day.
Matsuyama sunk birdie putts on the fifth and sixth holes to help open up his team's huge lead.
Looking Ahead to the Weekend
In addition to finishing up the suspended matches, five foursome and four-ball matches will be played on Saturday in what should be an epic marathon of golf in Ohio.
Can the Americans take complete command of the event and take pressure off themselves for Sunday's one-on-one duels, or will the international stars close the gap?
Stay tuned to find out.
Follow me for musings on sports and sports video games.