Americans continue to dominate International team at Presidents Cup

Phil Mickelson reacts after sinking his birdie putt at No. 18 to clinch a win with teammate Kevin Kisner on Friday at the Presidents Cup.
(Rob Carr / Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to cap off another big day for the Americans and set a record for the largest lead after two sessions in Presidents Cup history.

Another day like this and that’s what the International team will be — history.

Mickelson and Kisner never led against Jason Day and Marc Leishman until the par-three 18th hole Friday at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J. Mickelson poured in his birdie putt, and Leishman missed his from about the same range.


About the only thing that went wrong was the celebration. Mickelson, who on Thursday cropped himself out of a selfie with the last three U.S. presidents, missed a move in the “Three Amigos” dance with Kisner.

“I’m clearly the worst selfie taker. I’m the worst `Three Amigos’ dancer. But I can putt,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson, who has played in all 12 Presidents Cups, has 24 match victories to tie the record set by Tiger Woods in eight appearances. Woods was looking on in his role as an assistant to U.S. captain Steve Stricker.

And that’s about all the International team could do.

Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin were 2 up with four holes to play against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed and had to settle for a halve. Even that felt like a small victory for the International team because Spieth had birdie putts on the final two holes that narrowly missed.

Justin Thomas, already with a big year behind him as a major champion and the FedEx Cup champion, teamed with Rickie Fowler for another easy victory. They have trailed only one hole in their two matches, and they became the first partnership to beat Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.

They took the lead for good when Fowler made a 15-foot birdie putt on the third hole, and then Thomas produced the loudest cheer of the afternoon at a pivotal moment on the 14th hole. Oosthuizen hit his approach to within six feet, while both Americans missed the green. From the left bunker, Thomas blasted out perfectly and watched in drop in for a birdie that kept the International team from cutting the deficit to 1 down.

Thomas birdied the next hole, and his bunker shot on the 16th hit the pin and somehow stayed out.

The shortest match of the day belonged to a pair of American rookies, Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman, who sat out the foursomes matches in the opening session. They were 3 up after four holes against Charl Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri and never let up in a 6-and-5 victory.

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, close friends and the last two U.S. Open champions, took their first lead on the par-three 10th with Koepka’s birdie, and Johnson showed rare emotion on his final two birdies in a 3-and-2 victory over Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas.

Just like the opening session, the matches looked as though they could go either way until the back nine. At one point, the International team led in three matches, only for all of them to turn.

In the five matches, the Americans won 13 holes on the back nine, compared to just three for the International team.

The Americans have a 9-1-1 lead in the series, their only loss coming in 1998 at Royal Melbourne. But it has at least been close after the opening two sessions, with neither side leading by more than two points since 1998.

With an 8-2 lead, the Americans have a mathematical chance to clinch on Saturday, which features four matches of foursomes in the morning and four matches of fourballs in the afternoon.

Hatton leads at British Masters

Tyrrell Hatton shot a five-under 65 in miserable conditions in his second round to lead by three strokes at the British Masters, where the leaderboard at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne was dominated by English players.

Lee Westwood, who is hosting the tournament, and Ian Poulter also shot 65 and were two of four Englishmen in a five-way tie for second behind their compatriot. Masters champion Sergio Garcia missed the cut, which was at two under, after rounds of 70 and 69.

Mozo has five-shot lead in New Zealand

Spain’s Belen Mozo shot an eight-under 64, including a hole in one on the par-three 13th, to take a five-stroke lead after two rounds of the New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland. She had a 14-under total of 130 on the newly-established Windross Farm course.

Three golfers shared second place — Emily Tubert of the United States, who shot 65 Friday, Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden (67) and Canada’s Brooke Henderson, the co-leader after the first round who had a 70 Friday. Local favorite Lydia Ko shot 68 and was eight strokes behind Mozo.