Americans keep Presidents Cup lead

Nov. 18, 2011 at 12:57 AM

MELBOURNE, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The teams of Bubba Watson-Webb Simpson and Phil Mickelson-Jim Furyk stayed hot Friday and kept the United States out front in the Presidents Cup.

In windy conditions on a brutally difficult Royal Melbourne course, the Americans split their six matches with the International Team and finished the day with a 7-5 lead.

Ten more team matches will be played Saturday and 12 singles matches will be contested Sunday. Friday's tee times were moved up 2 hours to avoid thunderstorms and rain expected through Saturday.

Watson and Simpson posted their second victory in as many days, fighting off Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa 2-and-1. Mickelson and Furyk also remained unbeaten in two matches with a 2-and-1 decision over Adam Scott and Kyung-tae Kim.

Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar recorded the other United States win, disposing of Y.E. Yang and Robert Allenby 4-and-3.

Tiger Woods suffered his second straight loss, the only American player to do so, but put up a battle with Dustin Johnson on the rock-hard greens before falling 1-up to Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley.

Woods narrowly missed a 60-foot eagle putt at the par-5 15th and his chip for birdie from the fringe at the 18th grazed the hole as it went by.

Bill Haas and Nick Watney were also 1-up victims against Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi while Hunter Mahan and David Toms fell 2-and-1 to Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen.

The course conditions made it almost impossible to put approach shots close to the hole, making birdies a rare commodity.

Watson, for instance, stroked a lengthy birdie putt across the fourth green and the ball wound up catching a slope that sent it all the way off the front of the putting surface and 30 yards down a hill.

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