Presidents Cup: The answer for the Internationals is Aussie Abe

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Presidents Cup: The answer for the Internationals is Aussie Abe

2019 Presidents Cup

Presidents Cup: The answer for the Internationals is Aussie Abe

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Dale Vallely stood behind the 16th green with a golf bag on his back and the look of confusion on his face said that he didn’t know where to go. All he knew was that his match was over.

Vallely is the caddie for Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, who had just buried a 27-foot birdie putt from off the green to clinch a 3-and-2 victory with Sungjae Im in their four-ball match over Team USA’s Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

“I still don’t know where the 17th tee is,” Vallely joked.

That’s because Ancer, a 28-year-old Presidents Cup debutante, has won all three of his matches with three different partners without needing to play beyond the 16th hole.

Ancer, ranked No. 39 in the world, has been channeling Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama, who was tabbed “The Smilin Assassin” after going 5-0 as the Internationals won their only Presidents Cup here at Royal Melbourne in 1998.

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Call him “Aussie Abe.” Ancer, who won the 2018 Australian Open for his biggest victory as a professional, leaned on his putter, which has been both shield and sheath this week. As Marc Leishman, who teamed with Ancer for a 3-and-2 win in Friday’s foursomes, put it, “He’s such a good putter and loves being in the heat of the battle.”

Louis Oosthuizen, who teamed with Ancer to pummel Americans Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland 4 and 3, was even more emphatic: “My man just made everything,” Oosthuizen said Thursday. “He hit fairways, greens, and it’s all on him today. It was unreal.”

And on Saturday morning Ancer delivered again in tandem with Im.

Abraham Ancer and Sungjae Im celebrate defeating Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay during Saturday four-ball matches at the 2019 Presidents Cup. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“My partner, Abraham Ancer, made some ridiculous putts, especially on the third hole. There was a huge curving putt that he made, and he made a clutch putt on the last for us to win. I think we motivated each other a lot and that’s what helped us win the match.”

Of the winning putt at 16, Ancer said, “Oh, man, that was so much fun. These are the moments that we’ve been practicing for our whole life.”

Despite an impressive PGA Tour campaign in which he finished a career-best second at the Northern Trust in August, Ancer didn’t garner much talk leading into the Presidents Cup. He wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Americans underestimated his abilities, but his caddie explained why he entered the biennial competition floating under the radar.

“Guys don’t realize how good he is. It’s because he’s never won (on the PGA Tour) so he doesn’t get paired with the best players,” Vallely said. “But he’s going to win, and he’s going to win a lot.”

Asked before the pairings were released if he’d be raring to go back out for the afternoon foursomes, Ancer said, “I’m ready. Put me in coach!”

Aussie Abe will partner with Leishman against Justin Thomas, who is the only other player at 3-0, and Rickie Fowler. Something’s gotta give in that match. Perhaps Vallely will figure out where the 17th tee is located.

“Nope,” he said. “Don’t want to.”

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