The Presidents Cup came down to the last match, and it was hard to tell if there was more pressure on Bill Haas or U.S. team captain Jay Haas.
The elder Haas inserted his son in the final position of Sunday's 12 singles matches against the International team, and neither the father nor the son had any idea that Bill's match against South Korean Sangmoon Bae would decide the Presidents Cup.
However, that's just how it played out, as the U.S. and the Internationals traded victories throughout the day at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea. It came down to the final hole of the final match, and when Bae stubbed his chip shot near the 18th green and his ball rolled back down the slope, it clinched the 15.5-14.5 win for the Americans because Haas stiffed his bunker shot to within six feet of the hole.
Bae conceded the final hole at that point, giving Haas the 2-up victory.
''When we put him out 12th, I had no idea, obviously, that was going to happen,'' the captain told Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel. ''But he played beautiful.''
Oh, no. Sangmoon Bae chunks his chip into the final green. Might be the last shot he'll hit in competition for 22 months. Poor guy.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) October 11, 2015
The victory was the sixth straight for the American team in the Presidents Cup. The previous five wins had all been blowouts.
Bae had fought courageously to extend the match to 18 holes. He made a long, clutch putt on the 16th hole and then nearly holed a bunker shot on the par-three 17th hole to keep the match alive.
|2015 Presidents Cup: Singles match results|
|U.S. golfer||International golfer||Winner||Score|
|Rickie Fowler||Adam Scott||Scott||6 and 5|
|Phil Mickelson||Charl Schwartzel||Mickelson||5 and 4|
|Patrick Reed||Louis Oosthuize||--||Halved|
|Dustin Johnson||Danny Lee||Johnson||2 and 1|
|J.B. Holmes||Hideki Matsuyama||Matsuyama||1 up|
|Bubba Watson||Thongchai Jaidee||--||Halved|
|Jimmy Walker||Steven Bowditch||Bowditch||2 up|
|Chris Kirk||Anirban Lahiri||Kirk||1 up|
|Zach Johnson||Jason Day||Johnson||3 and 2|
|Jordan Spieth||Marc Leishman||Leishman||1 up|
|Matt Kuchar||Branden Grace||Grace||2 and 1|
|Bill Haas||Sangmoon Bae||Haas||2 up|
International captain Nick Price took pride in his side's near-victory. "I don't think it could have got a whole lot more exciting than that," he said after the final match. "I can't tell you what it's like to bring eight countries together, six different languages, different cultures. ... They bonded, and I tell you what, I'm so proud."
The day's most dramatic victory went to American Chris Kirk, who defeated Anirban Lahiri 1 up. Kirk and Lahiri went to the 18th hole all square, and the match appeared to swing to Lahiri on the green. Kirk was left with a 15-foot putt, while Lahiri had just a four-footer. Kirk somehow made his putt, while Lahiri's putt lipped out. That win was clearly vital for the Americans.
Superstars Jordan Spieth and Jason Day both lost their singles matches. Spieth trailed Marc Leishman by one hole going into the 18th but made his birdie to put the pressure on the Australian. However, Leishman was not intimidated and rolled in his own birdie to secure the 1-up victory.
Marc Leishman defeats world no. 1 Jordan Spieth. Spieth's 3 singles matches in the Presidents & Ryder Cup: Loss, Loss, Loss— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) October 11, 2015
Day, who had been razor-sharp in the final months of the PGA Tour, was anything but in the final day of competition. He made six bogeys and never threatened British Open champion Zach Johnson, who eased home with a 3 and 2 victory.
Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen had been the individual stars of the competition for the International team. Grace defeated Matt Kuchar 2 and 1 after building a big lead on the front nine and then coasting home. Grace went 5-0 for the week.
Branden Grace on going 5-0: "My last #PresidentsCup I was 0-4. That's a pretty big step in the right direction."— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 11, 2015
Oosthuizen was nearly as effective as Grace, but he had a difficult time against Patrick Reed. The American was 1 up going into the 18th hole, but Oosthuizen nailed an eagle to win the hole and halve the match. That allowed him to post a 4-0-1 record throughout the competition.
Adam Scott had the biggest win of the day for the Internationals, while Phil Mickelson accomplished a similar victory for the Americans.
Scott got hot with his putter and birdied four consecutive holes starting on the seventh. He built a huge lead over Rickie Fowler, and the American star could never get back in the match as Scott trounced him 6 and 5.
It wasn't quite so easy for Mickelson because he started badly when his opening tee shot hit a spectator's umbrella. His next shot got buried in a bunker, but he bounced back quickly and put away Charl Schwartzel 5 and 4.