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Presidents Cup recaps: Led by Tom Kim, Internationals pull within four points

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It’s not over yet.

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While the Americans still lead this 14th Presidents’ Cup by a comfortable margin, the Internationals are still alive after narrowing the gap to 11:7 in Sunday’s singles in a 3-1 Saturday afternoon session.

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Tom Kim, a 20-year-old rookie from South Korea, and another rookie, Cam Davis, came in late to help the away team score two big points that led to a 5-3 record over two sessions at the Internationals on Saturday.

“Today was a great day,” said Adam Scott. “We got into a deep hole on the bus here this morning and all the guys were digging really deep. You know, we halved the morning session and we won the afternoon session, and the momentum, you know, I think there haven’t been many times in my career that I’ve felt the momentum moving in our direction. And today we had momentum. We’re definitely finishing it up tonight and it would be great if we could keep it rolling tomorrow.”

International team captain Trevor Immelman added: “On the bus this morning at 5:50 I challenged these guys to win the day and they did… I’m almost crying here.”

To win the Cup on Sunday, internationals will need to score at least 8 1/2 out of a possible 12 points in singles. However, in the previous 13 Cups, Internationals have never scored eight or more points in singles. Twice they published the final sessions with a score of 7 1/2 points.

Here’s a quick recap of Saturday’s event at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, NC:

Match 15: Si Woo Kim/Tom Kim (INT) def. Patrick Cantley/Xander Schauffele (USA), 1st place

After 2-0 in the first two days without reaching 17th Hole, Cantley and Schauffele sat in a foursome Saturday morning matchup and then drew two of the International’s hottest players this week in two Kims.

Si Wu hit a 12-foot par-4 second birdie to give his team a 1 lead, but a consistent American pair took the next two holes, one from the Cantley birdie and the other from the Schaffele birdie to turn the match. The Americans moved up 2 after two international scares on par-3 10th hole, but Tom brilliantly returned one on a short par-4 11th hole where he drove down the green and then hooked a 55-foot eagle, his second eagle hit was 11th that day as he also made one in the four-man morning practice.

Si Woo joined the excitement two holes later with a 22-foot birdie shot to win 13th and tie the game. Schauffele then made a 37-foot birdie putt from the field and fell to a par-4 and Tom couldn’t match with 9 feet, and the US went back to 1 ap. But Si Wu was the only player to knock out a birdie on par-5 16.thand the match started up again.

Tom quickly became a fan favorite this week with his energy and punching, and he gave everyone a Tiger-style par-4 18 hole after he got close to 10 feet and twisted the birdie to get a full point.

“I wanted this hit more than anything,” Tom said.

Match 16: Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas (USA) vs. Hideki Matsuyama/Taylor Pendrit (INT), 4 and 3

Matsuyama nearly hit his 183-yard approach on the first par-4 hole before winning the birdie hole. But Spit responded by hitting a 17-foot birdie on the next to equalize, and he and Thomas quickly extended their lead to 2 after four holes, a run that was capped by Spit’s 6-foot birdie on the fourth par-3 hole.

Spit did well in this match, as his score counted for 12 of the 15 holes. His birdie on par-4 15th hole, where he hit an 18-foot chip from just outside the penalty area, ended the match, 4 and 3, the second such result of the day for Spit and Thomas, who ended the team game 4-0. This week.

“I thought Justin had a bird,” Spit said of the winning chip, “but I can try and not wait for him.”

Match 17: Sungjae Im/Sebastian Munoz (INT) def. Tony Finau/Kevin Kisner (USA), 3 & 2

The Internationals scored first of this match when Munoz hit a 25-foot birdie ball on the fourth par-3 hole, but Kisner equalized a few holes later with his second shot on the green’s seventh par-5 hole and a 7-foot eagle conversion .

However, the match did not drag on as Munoz drove to the green on a short par-4 eight and snapped to win the hole. After a crazy half when Finau folded on par 10, the visitors extended their lead on the next par 4, 11th, where I found a tee green and puttted two from 70 feet for a birdie. Double the advantage of Internationals to 2.

The Internationals hit five of their last six holes to crush the Americans in this one, and Munoz fell behind a 20-foot eagle who hit 16th to seal the deal.

Match 18: Adam Scott/Cam Davis (INT) def. Billy Horschel/Sam Burns (USA), 1st place

US captain Davis Love III left Scotty Scheffler on the bench, while Burns, who had spent three sessions alongside world No. 1, remained with new partner Horschel.

Burns’ 12-foot birdie at par-4 third gave the new American pair an early lead, but Burns hit two balls into the water at par-5 seventh and Scott’s two hits equalized. Four of the next five holes were split in half with the birdies—Burns had three during that stretch (he was also 3 feet for the birdie at No. 12 before Horschel made his birdie shot)—as the match remained tied after 12 holes.

The US then regained the lead when Burns knocked his tee ball down 9 feet on par-3 hole and rolled another bird. Burns managed seven four-ball birds through the first 14 holes and was credited with just eight after one on the final par-4 hole.

However, Burns never managed to land his final birdie strike as Davis performed several final heroic acts. The rookie Australian closed in an eagle, the last birdie from 9 feet, to secure the third day 5-3 in favor of the Internationals.


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