The American team of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, which carried the U.S. through three sessions last year at the Ryder Cup, appears to have found its mojo again in Foursomes at the Presidents Cup. The two were the face of the team last year, firing up the Chicago crowds. They flamed out on Thursday, however, as they struggled to get much momentum at Muirfield Village before going quietly in a loss to Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.
One day later, though, and the 2012 form is back as the two are alternating shots and firing darts into pins to put it to the international team of Jason Day and Graham DeLaet. This is an all-important lead-off match, particularly for the Internationals who have perhaps their strongest pairing out there, but Bradley and Mickelson are blitzing them as they approach the turn.
After falling in a hole early, Mickelson and Bradley have won four straight holes to go 3-up. It started with a drained eagle putt from the fringe by Mickelson (prompting this awkward celebration) and Lefty followed that right up with an amazing approach shot into the No. 6 green:
That birdie was followed by two more and, in just thirty minutes, the momentum has completely swung to the USA side.
The Americans lead in three of the other five matches. Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge are the one International team that's out in front big, but the team of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama are also up by one stroke early. Els was horrible on Thursday, but de Jonge, an untested rookie, was the best player on the course. It's working for that duo in the alternate shot format today.
The Foursomes format is the most difficult way to play at these events, particularly for the Internationals who have less experience with it. It's the one session that's always put distance between to the two sides and led to a series of recent American blowouts. If the Internationals can just split the day and stat in a one-point deficit overall, captain Nick Price will be happy.
Here's a look at the match board with all six matches on the front nine on Friday:
|Match Progress||International Pairing||USA Pairing|
|USA 3up thru 8||Jason Day & Graham DeLaet||Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley|
|INTL 3up thru 7||Ernie Els & Brendon de Jonge||Hunter Mahan & Bill Haas|
|USA 2up thru 5||Branden Grace & Richard Sterne||Steve Stricker & Jordan Spieth|
|USA 1up thru 5||Angel Cabrera & Marc Leishman||Webb Simpson & Brandt Snedeker|
|USA 1up thru 4||Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel||Matt Kuchar & Tiger Woods|
|INTL 1up thru 3||Adam Scott & Hideki Matsuyama||Jason Dufner & Zach Johnson|