Reigning champions the United States trail the International team 10-8 after Day 3 of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Black Rock, Australia.
Saturday's results mean the U.S. still has a chance of avoiding losing the trophy for just the second time since the event's inception back in 1994.
There was controversy during the fourball matches when Patrick Reed's caddie, Kessler Karain, had a physical altercation with a fan.
Karain told podcast Fore Play how he reacted when a spectator verbally abused Reed during the latter's match alongside Webb Simpson against C.T. Pan and Hideki Matsuyama (h/t Australian Associated Press, via the Guardian): "I got off the cart and shoved him, said a couple of things, probably a few expletives. Security came and I got back in the cart and left. I don't think there's one caddie I know that could blame me."
Team USA later entered the evening foursome matches chasing at least three wins but had to settle for ties and half points in two matches. Joaquin Niemann and Byeong Hun An staged a creditable comeback to earn a tie after Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar appeared to have a grip on the match.
Earlier, Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman had left Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler frustrated. By the end, the International players had maintained an impressive mark in foursomes play:
The world team had looked to be in control following the fourball session, holding a three-point lead thanks to two outright wins and one tie. Team USA played the early session without captain Tiger Woods, who took off the morning session after winning his first two matches alongside Justin Thomas.
"That was kind of the game plan,'' Woods told ESPN's Bob Harig about his decision to sit out. "It would be hard for me to go all the sessions. I've been fortunate enough to go out there with JT, and we've gotten two points."
Woods also opted to sit out during the evening session, a move that put Rickie Fowler in the spotlight with Thomas while the U.S. attempted to make things interesting.
2019 Presidents Cup Day 3 Results: Fourball
Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas (United States) def. Haotong Li and Marc Leishman (International), 3 and 2
Abraham Ancer and Sungjae Im (International) def. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (United States), 3 and 2
C.T. Pan and Hideki Matsuyama (International) def. Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed (United States), 5 and 3
Byeong Hun An and Adam Scott (International) tied Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar (United States)
Team USA lost a point in the early session after trailing by three when the day started. However, Thomas continued to be a shining star for the American team, running his record to 3-0.
Thomas, Woods and Fowler have been the most consistent players for the U.S. in this tournament, with no one else on the team having earned more than one victory following the morning session:
Even though it's easy to nitpick about Team USA's showing, the International squad has looked like an unstoppable machine. Pan and Matsuyama cruised to a 5 and 3 win over Simpson and Reed in a match that saw the former pair break par on back-to-back holes three times.
Finau and Kuchar were able to salvage a half point for the Americans by earning a tie against An and Adam Scott. The International pair were in control most of the way on the back nine thanks in no small part to this birdie on No. 15 from An:
Finau came alive on the greens during the final two holes with consecutive birdies to get the match back to even:
Rather than going into the evening session trailing by five points, Finau and Kuchar kept the gap at four with Team USA appearing to have favorable foursome matchups.
2019 Presidents Cup Day 3 Results: Foursomes
Gary Woodland and Dustin Johnson (United States) def. Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen (International), 2&1
Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas (United States) tied Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman (International),
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (United States) def. Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith (International), 2&1
Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar (United States) tied Joaquin Niemann and Byeong Hun An (International)
Gary Woodland and Dustin Johnson made solid work of the front nine to set up a win over Scott and Louis Oosthuizen. Birdies on the par-four six and par-five seven put USA one up before a birdie at the 12th moved Woodland and Johnson two ahead.
Five birdies, four on the front nine, helped Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele to victory against Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith. Cantlay, in particular, was in a ruthless mood on the greens:
Fowler and Thomas couldn't quite match Cantlay's efficiency, though, with the pair settling for three straight bogeys to close out the back nine to give Ancer and Leishman, who managed pars over the same stretch, a share of a point.
Finau and Kuhar were two up with five holes remaining, but a bogey at the 14th proved costly, especially when Niemann and An sunk a birdie on the 15th. That meant a tie, something neither team could change after trading pars to finish out the match.
Afterwards, representatives from both teams discussed events from a frantic penultimate day:
Attention will now turn to the 12 singles matches set to decide things on the final day.