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Americans take lead in Presidents Cup

Nov. 17, 2011 at 1:54 AM   |   Comments

MELBOURNE, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk led the United States to a two-point lead Thursday while Tiger Woods suffered an embarrassing loss at the Presidents Cup.

The Americans took a 4-2 advantage over the International Team after the opening day of the four-day competition at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. The International squad led early in five of the six foursomes matches, but wound up winning only one of them.

Mickelson and Furyk, both of whom struggled on the greens throughout the year, had a hot putting round in defeating Retief Goosen and Robert Allenby 4-and-3. Mickelson thus became the all-time points leader in Presidents Cup competition with 21, moving a half point in front of Vijay Singh.

The only American loss was suffered by Woods and Steve Stricker, who were crushed by K.J. Choi and Adam Scott 7-and-6. Woods and Stricker did not make a birdie.

It was the first time Woods and Scott had been paired together since former Woods caddy Steve Williams went to work for Scott. Williams recently touched off a controversy by making a racial slur toward Woods, but Williams sought out Woods to apologize when they arrived in Melbourne.

Americans Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson overcame an early two-hole deficit to defeat Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa 4-and-2 while Hunter Mahan and David Toms added to the United States point total with a 6-and-5 decision over Kyung-Tae Kim and Y.E. Yang.

The other two matches were halved with the Americans rallying on the back nine in both of them.

Bill Haas and Nick Watney were 2-down with four to play, but came back to earn a half point against Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel. Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar then won the final two holes against Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day to earn another halve.

Officials announced the start of Friday's six fourball matches would be moved up 2 hours because of the threat of afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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