Spieth, Stricker hold off Els, de Jonge

Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth during their opening match of the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village.

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Twelve-time PGA Tour winner Steve Stricker and 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth looked to help the U.S. to a fast start against four-time major champion Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge, who has $8 million in career Tour earnings. Stricker excelled early, Spieth after the turn and the two never trailed – yet needed a sand-save par from Stricker at the last to earn a point. Here's a recap of the match's highlights.

• • •

HOLE NO. 1

Els and de Jonge miss the green while Spieth and Stricker find the green, placing the U.S. in solid shape to earn a point here. Spieth's putt runs past, while Stricker makes birdie to give the Americans the edge out of the gate.

THROUGH ONE HOLE: U.S. 1 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 2

Spieth finds trouble off the tee and Stricker around the green, giving de Jonge the ability to earn a point with a par.

THROUGH TWO HOLES: All square

• • •

HOLE NO. 3

As at the first hole, de Jonge and Els miss the green in regulation again – and Stricker seizes a birdie opportunity to win the hole for the Americans again.

THROUGH THREE HOLES: U.S. 1 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 4

Stricker and de Jonge find the green while Spieth and Els miss; the latter two can't get up and down for par, while Stricker and de Jonge match one another with two-putt pars to halve the hole.

THROUGH FOUR HOLES: U.S. 1 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 5

de Jonge reaches the green in two at the par-5 fifth hole, then two-putts for birdie. Spieth, on in three, misses his birdie putt – but Stricker, also on in three, side-doors his birdie putt to earn another halve.

THROUGH FIVE HOLES: U.S. 1 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 6

All four players find the fairway at the par-4 sixth, and the green as well. Jordan Spieth makes his first birdie of the day and de Jonge matches to halve the hole.

THROUGH SIX HOLES: U.S. 1 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 7

Steve Stricker reaches the green in two at the par-5 seventh; his long first putt comes up about 8 feet short, but he makes the birdie effort to win the hole for the U.S.

THROUGH SEVEN HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 8

Stricker, on the par-3 eighth hole, makes a birdie putt of 20 feet or more – but de Jonge answers from about 10 feet to halve the hole.

THROUGH EIGHT HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 9

Everyone finds the fairway off the tee at the par-4 ninth, while de Jonge and Spieth get their approaches to about 20 feet. Both two-putt for par and the hole is halved.

THROUGH NINE HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 10

de Jonge hits his approach inside 5 feet for a chance to narrow the margin in this match – but Spieth makes a putt from 30 feet or more to post birdie first, securing a halve as de Jonge makes his short putt as well.

THROUGH 10 HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 11

de Jonge gets greenside in two at this par 5, leaving himself 35 feet or so from the pin just short of the green. Spieth and Stricker wedge on in three – both about 3 feet or so from the hole. de Jonge two-putts from the fairway as the Americans match it.

THROUGH 11 HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 12

Els, Spieth and Stricker find the green at the par-3 12th, while de Jonge finds the intermediate cut again. de Jonge makes birdie, and Spieth makes as well for the halve.

THROUGH 12 HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 13

de Jonge hits his approach inside 10 feet and makes the birdie putt after Stricker pars, cutting the Americans' lead.

THROUGH 13 HOLES: U.S. 1 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 14

They're all in the fairway at the short par-4 14th, and Els is the first to make par – after which Spieth makes a birdie putt of about 10 feet or more to take the Americans' lead back to 2 in this match, perhaps restoring some momentum the team could use right now.

THROUGH 14 HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 15

Spieth reaches the green in two at the par-5 15th, with the others needing short shots greenside to get on. Spieth's putt stops pin high and about a foot or a little more from the hole and is conceded a birdie. de Jonge makes a 4- or 5-footer to keep pace.

THROUGH 15 HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 16

Els shines off the tee, hitting it to about 5 feet or so, though de Jonge and Stricker have good looks at birdie as well. But nobody converts and the hole is halved.

THROUGH 16 HOLES: U.S. 2 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 17

With the match dormie, all but Spieth are on in regulation at the long par-4 17th. His pitch misses badly and Haas rolls a birdie putt 3-4 feet past. de Jonge misses a birdie try as well, but Els makes from about 15 feet to narrow the Internationals' deficit.

THROUGH 17 HOLES: U.S. 1 up

• • •

HOLE NO. 18

de Jonge is the only player to find the green in regulation at the par-4 18th, but Stricker hits a fantastic bunker shot from a buried lie to a short-sided pin and has less than 3 feet for par. de Jonge's birdie try rolls a bit past on the low side. The hole is halved.

RESULT: U.S. 1 up

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