Presidents Cup 2017: Top Scores, Standings Review and Predictions for Saturday

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2017

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28:  Justin Thomas of the U.S. Team and Rickie Fowler of the U.S. Team walk on the eighth hole during Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The United States are well on their way to a seventh successive Presidents Cup win, as they lead the International team 8-2 heading into Saturday's crucial day's play.

Having performed well on Thursday to take a 3.5-1.5 advantage after the foursome matches, the home team stepped things up again on Friday, winning four and halving one of the five fourball tussles. It means they could wrap the title up on Saturday, with 15.5 points needed for victory.

After all, there are a set of foursomes in the morning followed by fourballs in the afternoon on Day 3. Here are the matches that'll take place in the early session, as well as look back at a dominant Friday for the United States and what should be another intriguing early session on Saturday.

        

Saturday Foursomes Schedule (USA first, tee times in ET)

7:02 a.m.—Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth vs. Jason Day and Marc Leishman

7:13 a.m.—Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson vs. Adam Hadwin and Adam Scott

7:24 a.m.—Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson vs. Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas

7:35 a.m.—Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas vs. Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen

       

Friday Review, Saturday Preview

Having fallen two points behind after Thursday's play, the International team would have been confident of chopping down the gap a little in the fourballs on Friday. But things went horribly wrong for Nick Price and his team.

While Spieth and Reed were tamed by Hadwin and Hideki Matsuyama in Match 1, with the latter duo battling brilliantly to earn half a point, the rest of the day did not go to plan, with the remaining four matches on course all ending in United States wins. 

Given the chasm that's been on display between the two teams here and in recent years at the Presidents Cup, ESPN's Jason Sobel joked about expanding the competition:

Even so, as we see here courtesy of the competition's official Twitter account, Matsuyama has said none of the visiting players or the captain will be giving up on the title quite yet:

If they are going to produce the most stunning comeback in the history of golf, it must start on Saturday morning for the visitors. Though even if they were to win all four of the foursomes matches, they'd still be a couple of points back.

Once again, United States captain Steve Stricker has turned to Spieth and Reed to lead the team out. Even though the duo were the only group from their team on course not to win a full point yesterday, there's enough quality and intensity in that pairing to get the better of Day and Leishman.

Spieth and Reed will lead the team out again.
Spieth and Reed will lead the team out again.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

It's tough to see where the International team pick their points up from. In Match 2, Johnson and Kuchar mesh tremendously, while there was a brilliant chemistry between Mickelson and Kisner when they played together on Friday, as we can per the PGA Tour:

Per Doug Ferguson of the Press Association, Mickelson is such an asset in these types of competitions:

The International's standout pairing comes in the last match of the morning, as Grace and Oosthuizen tee off together.

On Saturday, the pair's perfect record as a partnership came to an end, as they were well beaten by the excellent Thomas and Fowler. The South Africans will be out for revenge on Saturday morning, though by the time that match is wrapped up, any slender chances the International team have of getting back into this may be dashed.

And as noted by Sean Martin, Thomas and Fowler have been pretty imperious so far:

The amount of depth in the United States team means attempting to close a deficit is such a difficult ask for the visitors.

Price will hope a big performance from Day and Leishman in the top match can spark something from those players following on later in the session and in the afternoon. But given the way the matches have gone so far and the confidence pulsing in the United States team, keeping this tournament alive heading into Sunday seems a tall order.

       

Saturday Foursomes Prediction: United States 3.5-0.5 International (11.5-2.5)