Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace were the first match out in the Friday four-balls at the President’s Cup and they led the International Team by example with a 4&3 victory over Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth.
“It was pretty clear from Pricey (Nick Price) what he wanted from us – get a blue number up there early. We needed to start strong and get a point to show the team that we’re winning,” said Oosthuizen.
There was some back and forth scoring at the start of the day, but the 2010 Open Champion made a decisive birdie at the eighth, where he drained a 72-foot putt to bring the match back to all-square.
Winning that hole brought Grace to life and the six-time European Tour winner birdied the ninth to take the duo 1-up through the turn.
On the 10th he applied the pressure by sinking a 19-foot birdie putt that Spieth was unable to match, which meant the International pairing was firmly in the driver’s seat at 2-up.
The South Africans dovetailed beautifully and Oosthuizen put the final nails into the coffin when he made birdies at both the 14th and 15th to win the match 4&3.
“Every time the one made a mistake the other would lift it up and that was the key to winning today,” said Grace. “There were some clutch putts and Louis’ long one at the eighth was a big turnaround for us and we rode the momentum from there.”
It was important that Oosthuizen and Grace sent cheers back down the line to their teammates and by the end of the day the Internationals had won three and halved one of the four-balls.
Danny Lee and Sangmoon Bae made a comeback of note against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker after going 2-down early in the day. The International pairing fought back to all-square and then local-boy Bae nailed an 11-foot birdie putt at the last to win the match.
Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day teamed up on Friday and halved their match against Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson, while Marc Leishman and Steven Bowditch succumbed to JB Holmes and Bubba Watson.
That left Charl Schwartzel and Thongchai Jaidee to contend against Bill Haas and Chris Kirk for the final point of the day.
The 2011 Masters winner took the initiative with a birdie at the third and the International pairing went 1-up. The match remained on that score over the next seven holes until the Americans conceded the 11th.
Schwartzel then had a two-hole cushion to work with and began to get aggressive on the course, which resulted in him nailing a 22-foot birdie putt at the 13th for a 3-up advantage.
The Americans took a hole back on the next, but could not overcome the deficit laid out before them. When Schwartzel made yet another birdie at the 17th it sealed the match as a 2-up victory for the Internationals.