Late on Saturday evening at Liberty National Golf Club, cloudy and overcast conditions aptly reflected the gloomy mood of the worldwide team as their Presidents Cup campaign spiraled towards ignominy of worst defeat in the history of the tournament.
The Americans won the first two matches of the day to expand their lead to 10-2.
“The Americans have played so well”, Lahiri said. “You kind of put more pressure on yourself”. Finally, however, they were lucky to escape with half a point after Spieth barely missed birdie putts at the last two holes.
That being said, the Sunday singles match I’m most interested in watching is Oosthuizen vs. Reed. “I guess in the back of our minds it was there, but trust me, neither of us was thinking about it coming down the stretch”, said Lahiri, a resident of India who plays on the PGA Tour.
With every team member ranked inside the world’s top 30, the host nation bagged 6.5 points from eight matches and are on pace to smash the record winning margin of 11 points they set in 2000. I think that one full point has been quite elusive this week.
After a long, grueling PGA Tour season, in which Spieth added his third major championship win and almost claimed the season-long FedEx Cup, it would have been understandable for the 24-year-old to endure some fatigue.
Once it was clear the U.S. had lost the hole, the Internationals also tried to then auto-concede the next hole, the 13th. Despite numerous lip outs, Kim still holed some crucial putts, including a 26-footer on fourth.
Kim and Lahiri embraced with a vicious high five. His partner hit a peach of a second shot into the 15th to tie the match, and then handed over the centrestage to Lahiri. It’s going to be windy again. Thomas delivered the big moment, as he has done all week, by making a 40-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole for a 2-up lead.
With their match all-square Spieth was disqualified from completing the hole and denied an opportunity to match Day’s birdie putt when Oosthuizen’s eagle attempt scooted past the cup and he scooped up the ball before it had stopped. Hoffman and Chappell ran into hug each other. “You know, the guys are trying”. Kim gave up after going bunker to bunker.
“We did not play the Par-5s well, missed a lot of birdies and actually had just one each and they came on the same hole, the tenth”. They fell behind with another bogey on the par-3 seventh, only to win the eighth with a birdie.
Steve Stricker’s side claimed four-and-a-half points out of five on day two in New Jersey to leave Nick Price’s global team staring down the barrel of a 10th defeat from 12 contests since the competition was first held in 1994.
“We recognize that this is a very similar team to what we can see for the next 5-20 years potentially”, American Jordan Spieth said.
Hope remains for the worldwide side thanks to Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen, who secured a hard-fought 2&1 victory over Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka.