There are at least two surprises as the Sunday singles approach in the Presidents Cup:
* The Americans hold just a one-point lead on the Internationals 9 1/2-8 1/2, the closest the International team has been entering the final day in a decade;
* And, the anticipated Jordan Spieth-Jason Day singles match isn’t going to happen.
After the Americans dominated the first day, building a 4-1 lead, it looked like another overwhelming U.S. performance. But with the pairing of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace going 4-0, the Internationals have set up a potentially riveting final session as they try to win for just the second time in 11 Presidents Cups.
Finishing the four-ball session in near darkness Saturday, Grace hit a crucial 3-wood over water into the par-5 18th green to help seal a 1-up victory against Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes, giving the International team a critical point.
“They have been the stars of our team,” International captain Nick Price said.
In other four-ball matches, Hideki Matsuyama and Sang-Moon Bae pounded Jimmy Walker and Chris Kirk, 6 and 5; Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson beat Adam Scott and Anirban Lahiri, 3 and 2; and Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed beat Charl Schwartzel and Jason Day, 3 and 2.
“This is what we all came here for, for it to be exciting (Sunday),” Price said. “And obviously doing the singles, the setup for the singles is very difficult. But I’m going to go and ask my team to go and play golf tomorrow. Each and every one of them has to play golf tomorrow and play to the very best of their ability. That’s all we can do.”
With the singles set to decide the Cup, U.S. captain Jay Haas will send fiery Patrick Reed out first against the red-hot Oosthuizen followed by Rickie Fowler against Scott, who has continued to struggle on the greens.
The expected Spieth-Day match didn’t materialize. Spieth will face Marc Leishman while Day matches up against Zach Johnson in the eighth and ninth matches, respectively.
“I know a lot of people – I heard some groans when we put him up that it was not a Jason/Jordan matchup. But they played the last two days, or they played two matches against each other this week; so not a head-to-head personal battle,” Haas said.
Bill Haas and Bae will play the 12th match, setting up the possibility of the deciding point coming down to a match between the U.S. captain’s son and a South Korean star who will step away from professional golf after the Presidents Cup to begin two years of mandatory military service.
The Sunday singles will begin at 8:15 p.m. EDT:
* Reed vs. Oosthuizen
* Fowler vs. Scott
* Dustin Johnson vs. Danny Lee
* Holmes vs. Matsuyama
* Watson vs. Thongchai Jaidee
* Walker vs. Steven Bowditch
* Mickelson vs. Schwartzel
* Kirk vs. Lahiri
* Spieth vs. Leishman
* Zach Johnson vs. Day
* Matt Kuchar vs. Grace
* Haas vs. Bae