USA dominating Presidents Cup

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson's 18th-hole birdie beat Aussies Leishman and Day. Image: Getty

The United States has seized the biggest second-session lead in the history of the Presidents Cup after a dominant day of four-ball play at Liberty National in New Jersey.

The Americans have a virtually-unassailable 8-2 lead over Nick Price's International team, having won four of the five matches today and halved the other.

The only morsel scored by the Internationals was the half-point earned by Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin who squared their match against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

Veteran Phil Mickelson drove a dagger into the Internationals with a birdie putt at the 18th hole that left Australia's Marc Leishman with one last chance to half the best match of the day. But Leishman could not hole his putt, he and Jason Day having spent a good part of the day ahead in their match against Mickelson and Kevin Kisner.

The other Australian, Adam Scott, lost his match alongside Jhonattan Vegas to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, 3 and 2, having led for much of the early part of the match.

At one point of the day the International team led three of the five matches and looked likely to haul itself back into the contest. But down the stretch the big names, in particular Johnson, stepped up.

Day and Leishman have lost ground late in both their matches to the same American pairing, Mickelson and Kisner.

Their story encapsulated the troubles for the Internationals; starting with three consecutive birdies they had control of the match, then gradually surrendered it.

They were still two up through 10 holes before Kisner made a crucial birdie at the 11th, Mickelson added another at the 15th and then his game-changer at 18, complete with Three Amigos-style celebration with Kisner. "Looking back at the replay, I think we kind of nailed it,'' said Mickelson, who has played all 12 Presidents Cups.

The Internationals have again been troubled by the US depth, with India's Anirban Lahiri having a nightmare in his match alongside Charl Schwartzel. Lahiri, a second-time Presidents Cup player and captain's pick whose missed putt allowed the US to win last time, earned a disqualification from one hole because having played a poor bunker shot at the previous hole, he dropped another ball and played a practise shot.

In amongst that he virtually left Schwartzel one-out against the Americans with a string of bad shots.

Hoffman and Chappell are Presidents Cup rookies and promptly earned a point. "I didn't know what I was missing,'' said Hoffman. "This gets the blood flowing like nothing else.''

International captain Nick Price was philosophical, pointing out that there are plenty of points to be decided. "The guys are trying,'' he said. "That's all I can say.''

There are four foursomes matches followed by four four-ball matches tomorrow, and then 12 singles matches on Sunday.

TODAY'S MATCHES

Phil Mickelson/Kevin Kisner d Marc Leishman, Jason Day 1 up.

Dustin Johnson/Brooks Koepka d Adam Scott/Jhonattan Vegas 3 and 2

Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas d Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace 3 and 2

Charley Hoffman/Kevin Chappell d Anarban Lahiri/Charl Schwarzel 6 and 5

Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth v Hideki Matsuyama/Adam Hadwin halved

USA leads 8-2

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Australia's Brett Drewitt is in contention to earn his PGA Tour playing card for next season after a second-round 67 at the Web.com Tour Championship in Florida. Drewitt is tied-ninth through two rounds, projected just outside the top 25 that he needs to make to earn his card.

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