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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 08:23 UK

US take slender Presidents lead

Presidents Cup
Venue: Harding Park Golf Course, San Francisco Dates: 8-11 October
Coverage: Reports on BBC Radio 5 live and on the BBC Sport website. Live on British Eurosport

Tiger Woods (right) and Steve Stricker
Woods and Stricker were in fine form on the opening day of the Presidents Cup

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker led the way as the United States took a 3.5-2.5 lead over the International team on the opening day of the Presidents Cup.

Woods and Stricker thrashed Geoff Ogilvy and Ryo Ishikawa 6&4 to help the US claim a slender advantage after the opening foursomes in San Francisco.

Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim and Zach Johnson and Kenny Perry also won.

Ernie Els and Adam Scott and Vijay Singh and Robert Allenby secured wins for the International team.

The final match between Justin Leonard and Jim Furyk and South Africa's Retief Goosen and South Korea's USPGA champion Yang Yong-Eun ended up all square.

Leonard and Furyk had battled back from three down to arrive at the last hole one up. However, Leonard's three-foot birdie putt lipped out and the match was halved.

"We are happy," said United States skipper Fred Couples, whose side had trailed in four of the six matches early on.

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"Tiger and Steve were ahead early, which we were hoping for - to be our leader of the day and turn things around.

"But it was an up-and-down battle. I physically got tired of looking at the scoreboard because every time I thought the day could finish this way, a putt would be made and I thought we would have two-and-a-half points.

"Some play was tremendous and some was a little sloppy. Alternate shot is not a whole lot of fun, and I thought both teams performed very well."

Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim got the home team off to a winning start by coming from behind to beat Canada's Mike Weir and South African Tim Clark by two holes.

Singh, from Fiji, and Australian Allenby were the pick of the International team on the opening day and were never behind as they defeated Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink, the reigning US Open and Open champions, by one hole.

International skipper Greg Norman said he was also satisfied with the state of play, admitting: "From our perspective, we really were hoping to get out of the day with pretty close to a push, which was the case.

"When the pairings came out last night, I thought it would be a very, very close day and I think every one of the players from my side have held their head extremely high.

"Would we like to be in the lead? Yes, we would be. But at the end of the day, the performance of my team was exceptional. We are not ecstatic about it, but we are happy."

Woods apologised to Ogilvy after their match after a mobile phone and then a heckler disturbed the Australian when he was lining up a putt at the third hole.

"It was one of the marshals who had a cell phone and it kept going off," said Woods, who together with Stricker missed just two fairways and two greens in their win.

"The only part that was intentional was the guy yelling out, which was absolutely uncalled for. This is not what golf is all about. This is not what this team event is all about."

There are six fourballs matches on Friday, then five foursomes and five fourballs on Saturday ending with 12 singles on Sunday.

The United States have lost just one of the seven events since its inception in 1994.


Thursday's foursomes results (US first):
Kim/Mickelson beat Weir/Clark 3&2
Mahan/O'Hair lost to Scott/Els 2&1
Glover/Cink lost to Singh/Allenby 1up
Perry/Johnson beat Cabrera/Villegas 2up
Woods/Stricker beat Ogilvy/Ishikawa 6&4
Furyk/Leonard halved with Goosen/Yang



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see also
Ogilvy eyes end of US domination
07 Oct 09 |  Golf
Presidents Cup captains revealed
26 Feb 08 |  Golf
US secure Presidents Cup victory
30 Sep 07 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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