Angry American duo can get back to winning ways
Reed and Spieth to keep Yanks on front foot
Story so far
The United States have dominated the Presidents Cup over the first two days, setting up the possibility of a record-breaking winning margin.
States captain Steve Stricker has used his squad to perfection, his pairings gelling well to forge an 8-2 lead after two sessions. Adam Hadwin and Hideki Matsuyama were the only Internationals to get on the scoreboard on day two, the Canadian and the Japanese scraping a half against Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.
Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson have all scored a maximum two points for the home side, while Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen are the leading Internationals, with one point apiece. The USA are a best-price 1-40 for victory, with the visitors a general 25-1.
There are two sessions today – four foursomes in the morning, then four fourballs in the afternoon – and Stricker has benched Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Charley Hoffman and Brooks Koepka for the foursomes. Internationals chief Price is going into battle without Si Woo Kim, Anirban Lahiri, Charl Schwartzel and Matsuyama.
First-day foursomes results
Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler beat Charl Schwartzel and Hideki Matsuyama 6&4
Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson beat Jhonattan Vegas and Adam Scott one up
Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth beat Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim 5&4
Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka lost to Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen 3&1
Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner halved with Marc Leishman and Jason Day
Day-two fourballs results
Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth halved with Adam Hadwin and Hideki Matsuyama
Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler beat Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen 3&2
Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson beat Marc Leishman and Jason Day one-up
Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell beat Anirban Lahiri and Charl Schwartzel 6&5
Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson beat Jhonattan Vegas and Adam Scott 3&2
T1 J Thomas, R Fowler, D Johnson (2 points)
T4 P Reed, J Spieth, K Kisner, P Mickelson (1.5)
T8 M Kuchar, K Chappell, C Hoffman, B Koepka (1)
12 D Berger (0)
T1 B Grace, L Oosthuizen (1 point)
T3 M Leishman, J Day, A Hadwin, H Matsuyama (0.5)
T7 C Schwartzel, J Vegas, A Scott, E Grillo, S W Kim, A Lahiri (0)
Day-three foursomes line-up
12.02pm Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed versus Marc Leishman and Jason Day
12.13pm Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson versus Adam Hadwin and Adam Scott
12.24pm Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson versus Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas
12.35pm Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas versus Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen
Both captains are performing well this week and Nick Price has identified the four players who have struggled most in his team for a Saturday morning off, but one skipper has an embarrassment of riches to work with, and the other is the lead character in Mission Impossible VI.
The Racing Post Sport pre-tournament correct-score recommendation of 21-9 to the United States at 66-1 may have given the International team too much respect. The States reaching the 21 mark seems a much easier task from here than the Internationals getting to nine.
The scoreline of 8-2 is likely to become 9-2 by lunchtime in New Jersey, with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed full of fire in their bellies after letting a half-point slip through their fingers yesterday. Spieth and Reed suffered a series of lip-outs, including an agonising one on the 18th green for victory, and the dynamic duo are determined to back to winning ways today. A touch of complacency may have set in over the second half of the front nine against Adam Hadwin and Hideki Matsuyama, but full focus can be expected today.
Jason Day's driving has been insecure, so Spieth and Reed should boss the top match from the gate, while Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson resume a winning foursomes combination in match two, facing the same opponents they beat one-up on Thursday.
South American partnership Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas – a pair of nervous rookies – look vulnerable in match three. The only hope for the Internationals is that Phil Mickelson, who was complaining of fatigue a few weeks ago, starts feeling the pace of this competition. Foursomes golf is less challenging in that regard though – you only have to play half the shots – so Lefty should make his standard contribution. Serious straws are being clutched in trying to find a way for the Internationals to get on the scoreboard.
The best hope for the Internationals in avoiding a foursomes whitewash is the final match, where Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen resume hostilities with Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, the quartet having contested the day-two fourballs.
FedEx Cup champion Thomas has been awesome so far on his debut representing his country, but the exertions of the last few weeks may catch up with him eventually. Foursomes golf – and a day of loose driving from Thomas – provides Grace and Oosthuizen with a better chance of beating the confident Yanks.
J Spieth & P Reed (4-5), M Kuchar & D Johnson (8-13), K Kisner & P Mickelson (4-5)
2pts treble Sky Bet
B Grace & L Oosthuizen
1pt 17-10 Betfred, Hills
USA to win day-three foursomes 3-1
1pt 3-1 bet365