U.S. leads by 1 at Presidents Cup

5:36 PM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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Dublin, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Steve Stricker made a clutch par save on the 18th hole Thursday to give the United States a one-point lead over the International team after Day One at The Presidents Cup.

Stricker's halve on 18 gave him and Jordan Spieth a 1-up win over Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge, who had eight birdies in his first appearance in the event.

The Americans' lead was 3 1/2 points to 2 1/2.

The U.S. led all six matches at one point. After a 1-hour, 22-minute weather delay, the Internationals fought back to gain all of their points in the first three matches out at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

The fifth match out -- Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar vs. Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman -- was the first to finish. Woods 2-putted for par on the 14th and when Cabrera failed to hole a birdie chip, the Americans led 1-up.

In the first match out, Jason Day poured in a 22-footer for birdie on the 18th to give him and Graham DeLaet a 1-up win over Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker.

Major champions Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel earned a 2 & 1 win over Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in the third match.

Hideki Matsuyama stuffed his approach at the 18th to tap-in range. Neither Bill Haas nor Webb Simpson could match the birdie as Matsuyama and Masters winner Adam Scott rallied to halve the match.

With four matches completed, the Internationals led by a point. The final match on the course ended next when Zach Johnson was conceded a birdie putt on the 15th, giving him and Jason Dufner a 5 & 3 win over Branden Grace and Richard Sterne.

The fourth match to tee off was the last to finish. After the teams traded the first two holes, Stricker birdied the third and seventh to give the Americans a 2-up lead. De Jonge made one of his eight birdies at the 13th to trim the margin to 1-down.

Spieth answered at 14, but Els made his first birdie of the day on No. 17 to send the match to the 18th. With Spieth in the water off the tee, then short of the green with his third, it was all up to Stricker.

Stricker's approach was buried under the lip of a bunker, but he blasted to three feet and converted the par putt to match de Jonge's 2-putt par, and give the American team its 1-point lead.

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