Day 3 at the 2013 Presidents Cup belonged to the Americans.
With four matches yet to be decided in the fourth session, the United States holds a five-point lead over the International team, 11.5-6.5, as noted by the Golf Channel:
Thanks to a lengthy weather delay on Friday, the golfers headed out early to finish what they started in the second session. The International Team split the final four matches, giving the Americans a one-point lead heading into the third set of matches.
The competition was agonizingly close between these two evenly matched teams, but it didn't take long for the United States team to make the first definitive statement of the prestigious event.
The Americans took four of the five morning four-ball matches to stretch their lead to four points, as noted by the Presidents Cup:
Matt Kuchar pours in birdie, and the final point of Four-Balls goes American. Through three sessions, USA leads 10.5 to 6.5. #PresCup— The Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) October 5, 2013
International captain Nick Price acknowledged during the NBC broadcast that his guys were a little low after getting crushed in the morning, but he rallied his troops, reminding them that the Presidents Cup was far from over:
Down, but certainly not out: "We're only halfway through the competition. There are still 17 points left. These guys have grit."-Nick Price— The Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) October 5, 2013
They responded well, coming out to take early leads in four of the five afternoon foursome matches before the United States made a minor comeback. Before play was suspended due to darkness, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson won their match against Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman to give the Americans another critical point.
Not surprisingly, weather was a factor once again on Saturday after delays occurred in both of the first two days.
Before the players could finish their early four-ball matches, a storm front moved into the area and drenched the course, causing another lengthy halt to the action.
The storm dumped a half-inch of rain, moving the total since Thursday up to 1.60 inches, as noted by the PGA Tour. It forced greens crews to scramble to repair bunkers and remove standing water, as relayed by the Presidents Cup:
Another 0.50” of rain so far today. Total since Thursday = 1.60” @PresidentsCup— PGA TOUR Media (@PGATOURmedia) October 5, 2013
Players are coming off the course while crews repair bunkers & remove standing water. Captain's draw has been postponed from 1:10pm #PresCup— The Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) October 5, 2013
After another hour of waiting around, golf finally resumed at Muirfield Village. That hour will have lasting implications on Sunday. Just as they did on Saturday morning, the men who didn't finish their matches will need to wake up earlier than planned in order to finish the fourth session.
Play will resume once again at 7:35 a.m. ET, as announced by the Presidents Cup:
Tomorrow: Foursomes will resume at 7:35am ET. Captains to draw Singles matches 8am, with tee-times beginning appx 9am. #PresCup— The Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) October 5, 2013
There will be some tired feet walking the course on Sunday afternoon with the Presidents Cup on the line.
Early Session Belonged to the United States
Jason Day and Graham DeLaet were the only two International team members who didn't suffer defeat on Saturday's early session. If not for some clutch play early in their match, however, they could have easily lost just like the rest of their teammates.
Down by one after the first hole, Day needed a birdie on No. 2 just to keep from falling behind by two. With 12 feet left to the cup, the Australian drained his birdie putt, and with it he turned the nature of the match around.
DeLaet and Day ended up winning their match against Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth 2-up after making birdie on two of their final three holes, as shown by the PGA Tour:
The rest of the International team, however, was overrun by a red-hot American squad that made Muirfield Village look easy.
For the third day in a row, the team of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley looked indomitable.
They got the Americans on the board with the first win of the day, 2 and 1, over Ernie Els and Brandon de Jonge, who had been unstoppable in their foursome match on Friday.
Els and de Jonge jumped out to a two-shot lead through seven holes, however, before the Americans took the match over. Mickelson and Bradley traded birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to even the match before going on another two-hole birdie run on Nos. 12 and 13 to put it away for good.
Bill Haas and Webb Simpson completely blew their competition away in the third match of the day, winning 4 and 3. They scored two birdies apiece on a four-birdie stretch between No. 6 and No. 10 to go up by four shots.
Haas, in particular, was on fire. His approach shot on the ninth hole was a thing of beauty. From 137 yards out, he knocked it to within a foot of the flag.
Then, on the 15th hole, Haas struck a gorgeous chip shot to within a couple of feet for another birdie to close out the match.
Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker also played extremely well in the early session on Saturday against Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. Relying on a string of three birdies early in the match, they outlasted their International rivals, winning 2-up.
Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar needed every single trick in their bags to defeat Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama, winning 1-up.
In the end, they found an extra bit of magic when they needed it. After falling behind by one, Woods and Kuchar made birdie on Nos. 13 and 14 before Woods hit one of the best shots of the weekend.
After blasting his tee shot down the middle on the par-five 15th, Woods took a fairway metal out of his bag with 238 yards left to the pin and nearly holed the shot.
It was a perfect cherry-on-top moment for the United States team.
Nothing the International team did seemed to matter—the Americans were simply too good.
With rain dominating headlines just as much as the fine play of the golfers on the course, Awful Announcing claimed victory after slipping in front of a large gallery just the once:
Walked 15 holes at the Presidents Cup today and managed to slip and fall in front of a large gallery only once. #winning— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 5, 2013
Golf fan Kris Noble, on a more serious note, commented on how cool it is to see these athletes, who are used to playing for themselves, come together in this team format:
Very cool to see an individual sport become a team sport. Great intensity when you're playing for more than yourself! #PresidentsCup— Kris Noble (@KrisNoble71) October 5, 2013
Another golf lover, Anthony Colonnetta, was pumped up about the national pride exhibited every time the Americans won a hole:
Its so Awesome when the Americans win a hole in the Presidents Cup and the crowd starts chanting USA! #PresCup— Anthony Colonnetta (@acolonnetta) October 5, 2013
After the Americans had opened up a big lead with four wins in the early session on Saturday, they fell into a deep hole in the foursome matches.
At one point, the International team was leading in all five matches, noted by the Presidents Cup, and CaptainTouchback wondered if the United States would blow a big lead like it did at the Ryder Cup a year ago:
Five blue flags on the board for the Int'ls in Foursomes. Will the USA fall victim to another underdog… http://t.co/ilYBaXAEew— The Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) October 5, 2013
At this point in the proceedings, jsidebo wished the Americans could retrieve Sammy the rally squirrel, which had been an unofficial mascot for the team before Davis Love III released it back into the trees on Friday:
US Presidents Cup team needs their rally squirrel. #USA— jsidebo (@jsidebo) October 5, 2013
But the United States didn't need Sammy to make a comeback, and at least one little guy was happy about it, as shared by Lee_Foster:
With four of the afternoon matches yet to be decided, the golfers will head out onto the course for another sunrise session to finish what they started on Saturday afternoon.
Which team will win?
In order to win this tournament, one team must win 17.5 points.
After the fourth session is concluded, the golfers will branch off by themselves to play 12 singles matches after three days of team competitions.
While the Americans hold a lead heading into Sunday's action, this is still anyone's tournament.
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