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Presidents Cup 2019: Top Scores, Standings Review and Predictions for Day 3

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 13: Justin Thomas of the United States team plays a shot on the 15th hole during Friday foursome matches on day two of the 2019 Presidents Cup at  Royal Melbourne Golf Course on December 13, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

The United States failed to reduce their three-point deficit at the 2019 Presidents Cup on Friday, so they'll begin Day 3 on the wrong end of a 6.5-3.5 scoreline.

After taking a 4-1 lead on Day 1 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, the International team looked set to build on that score with a strong start on Day 2 as they took the lead in all five matches.

However, a late rally from Team USA in three of them ensured they split the points evenly.

There will be two sessions on Saturday—four four-ball matches followed by four foursomes—so there's plenty of points to be won.

                     

2019 Presidents Cup Day 3 (Four-ball)

7:02 a.m. local/3:02 p.m. ET Friday: Justin Thomas/Rickie Fowler (USA) vs. Marc Leishman/Haotong Li (INT)

7:16 a.m. local/3:16 p.m. ET Friday: Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay (USA) vs. Sungjae Im/Abraham Ancer (INT)

7:30 a.m. local/3:30 p.m. ET Friday: Webb Simpson/Patrick Reed (USA) vs. Hideki Matsuyama/C.T. Pan (INT)

7:44 a.m. local/3:44 p.m. ET Friday: Matt Kuchar/Tony Finau (USA) vs. Adam Scott/Byeong Hun An (INT)

*Predicted winners in bold

The pairings for the second session will be announced once the first has concluded, with the foursomes teeing off from noon local time (8 p.m. ET).

                      

Preview

With eight points up for grabs on Saturday, there could be plenty of movement on the leaderboard as the two sides look to close in on the 15 they need to seal victory. 

Neither can win the title on Saturday—the International team need nine points, while the USA need 12—but they can put themselves into a strong position heading into Sunday.

Golf writer Jason Sobel suggested the format on Day 3 could play into the Americans' hands:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Two sessions tomorrow. Four matches in each instead of five. Often benefits the International side, which isn’t as deep. This time, it could play to the U.S. advantage, as Tiger and Co. can stick with the hot hands.

The USA have plenty of momentum behind them after their strong finishes on Day 2:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

The Aussies come out strong. 🇦🇺 @patrick_cantlay's clutch put. 💪 @JustinThomas34's strong finish. 😵 The Takeaway. https://t.co/l4Tf2N7sxu

Captain Tiger Woods is sitting out Saturday's morning session after securing victories in both of his matches.

Justin Thomas—who won those points alongside him—will still be playing, though.

Per Fox Sports' Shane Bacon, the 26-year-old has an impressive record in team golf competitions:

Shane Bacon @shanebacon

Ahem ... Justin Thomas now 8-1-1 in team matches at Pres/Ryder Cups.

He'll be partnering Rickie Fowler, whose late rally alongside Gary Woodland tied their match with Cam Smith and Sungjae Im on Day 2.

They're likely to be the USA's strongest pairing in the four-ball session and have a strong chance of kicking it off with a win.

Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson have little in the way of momentum, though, as they've struggled during the first two days of the tournament.

Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker questioned the captain's decision to persist with them as a partnership:

Tiger Tracker @GCTigerTracker

Hideki-Pan v. Reed-Simpson. What?

The pairing are 0-2 in Melbourne. On Friday, they lost to Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman, while on Thursday they lost to C.T. Pan and Hideki Matsuyama, who will be their opponents once again on Saturday.

Reed and Simpson haven't impressed in either round, so there's little to suggest their rematch with Pan and Matsuyama will produce a different result this time.  

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