US rallies for win on 1st day at Presidents Cup
Ahead 2-up with two holes to play, it was the match that Australians Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day should have won for the International team at the Presidents Cup.
But Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, aided by an errant tee shot by Baddeley on the 18th that followed his poor second shot on 17, came back for a halve in foursomes that felt like a win.
That helped the United States take a 4-2 lead in points Thursday after the opening day at Royal Melbourne.
''We were down all day but we just hung in there and came out with a halve,'' said Johnson, who made a testing six-foot par putt on the 18th after the Internationals had bogeyed. It was the same situation on 17, where the U.S. parred the hole after Baddeley and Day bogeyed.
As he walked off the 18th, Johnson and Kuchar were congratulated by International captain Greg Norman, who said: ''You just killed my day.''
''We thought we were looking not so good, and to get a halve, we felt like we got a win ... and awfully nice to ruin Greg Norman's day, by the way,'' Kuchar said, smiling.
Not so happy was Baddeley, who grew up in Melbourne but definitely did not feel like he enjoyed any hometown advantage.
''It was tough, I got the wind wrong on the second shot on 17, and obviously hit a poor tee shot on 18,'' Baddeley said. ''Very disappointing, because it's a different feel, being a part of the team. You feel like you let everyone down as opposed to just yourself.''
Norman has kept faith in the duo, naming Baddeley and Day to play fourballs against Johnson and Tiger Woods on Friday.
Baddeley will spend the night trying to think positively - ''the good thing was we got a halve and we played really good.''
Johnson and Kuchar were one-half of a late resurgence by the Americans. Geoff Ogilvy and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel lost a late 2-up lead and had to settle for a halve against Bill Haas and Nick Watney in the only two matches that went the distance.
''I don't think it's a secret that our guys feel like the two matches that we tied to get half a point, were wins, '' U.S. captain Fred Couples said. ''I'm sure they (the International team) are disappointed, but they are all tough players and they will come out tomorrow and play hard.''
Kuchar and Johnson conceded the par-3 third hole and both teams bogeyed the next hole. The International team built a big lead when Johnson was wild off the tee at No. 7 for bogey and missed a 6-foot par putt on No. 8.
The International team was 3 up with seven holes to play when it fell apart. Norman said he had a few words with Baddeley after the match.
''Sometimes I know I feel probably worse than Aaron feels, because you know how he feels,'' Norman said. ''You know he's carrying the weight of everybody else. I said, 'Look, just keep your head high. Just suck it up. It's over and done with. It's water over the dam and just accept it and it's done.'''