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.
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.
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.