2000: Friday PM: U.S. storms back

U.S. 4, Internationals 1

Total: U.S. 10, Internationals 5

Gainesville, Va.

Turnabout was fair play if you were an American on a beautiful, sun-splashed Friday afternoon at the Presidents Cup Oct. 20.

The U.S. team, rocked by a 4-1 thrashing in the Friday morning four-balls, bounced back to win four of the five afternoon foursomes matches to take a 10-5 lead into the weekend.

The marquee matchup was the 6 and 5 whipping Tiger Woods and Notah Begay III put on Vijay Singh and Ernie Els. The loss left the Internationals reeling after three sets of matches, because neither Els nor Singh, their top two players, had won a point.

Meanwhile, the Americans completed the foursomes portion of the overall event winning nine of a possible 10 points. International captain Peter Thomson was steaming that foursomes (alternate shot) was even part of the Presidents Cup.

“It’s a bloody English invention,” Thomson said of foursomes. “It’s for old ladies in golf clubs.”

American captain Ken Venturi was equally amazed at the American dominance in alternate shot.

“We never play that (format),” Venturi said. “It was just amazing to me.”

Also amazing was that through three days of play all 12 American players had at least one point, which was at least one more than Els or Singh.

The only reason the Internationals didn’t get swept Friday afternoon was the stellar play of Mike Weir. Weir and partner Nick Price dusted Phil Mickelson and David Duval, 6 and 4, in Weir’s second win of the day and Duval’s second loss.

Heading into the weekend the Americans needed to win just 61⁄2 of 17 points available to recapture the Cup they lost in Melbourne, Australia, two years ago.

Nevertheless, Venturi said, “I’m not comfortable at all.” This, despite that his first four teams Friday morning had combined for 24 birdies and an eagle. Woods and Begay combined for six birdies.

“I love ham and eggs,” Begay said.

But the ex-Stanford teammates were outdone by Presidents Cup rookies Kirk Triplett and Stewart Cink, who posted seven birdies in a taut 2-and-1 win over Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby. It was their second foursomes win – with no losses – in two days.

The other winning American pairs were Paul Azinger and Loren Roberts, who cruised past Carlos Franco and Shigeki Maruyama, 5 and 4; and Hal Sutton and Tom Lehman, who whipped Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen, 3 and 2. Maruyama’s loss was his first after six consecutive Presidents Cup victories.

No match reached the 18th hole. And it was the third session in which one team beat the other by at least three points.

– Brian Hewitt

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