It was a case of so near yet so far once again for Team International, as Team USA held off a spirited fightback to claim their 6th Presidents Cup victory in a row.
Jay Haas’ men entered the final day leading by one point and needing six points to retain the cup. Thanks to Bill Haas’ point in the final match, Team USA achieved that magic number of points as home favourite Sangmoon Bae almost broke down in tears after duffing a chip on the 18th hole.
Patrick Reed (U.S) halved with Louis Oosthuizen (INT): In the leadoff match the South African never managed to get himself in front, but a match that was filled with quality ended with a magical eagle from Oosthuizen to salvage a half-point for the International Team. It was Reed who found himself 2up through 11 holes, but birdies at 12 and 14 allowed Oosthuzien to draw back level at all square. Reed though would not be put down, and when he holed for par at the 16th to go 1up with two to play it seemed like the match could be drifting away from the South African. That was however until he made a brilliant eagle at the last hole to earn the half-point.
Adam Scott (INT) def. Rickie Fowler (U.S) 6&5: Adam Scott’s demolition of 2015 Player’s Champion Rickie Fowler was the first point won of the day. It was a slow start to the match and through 6 holes it remained all square. From the 7th hole though Scott found his putting form that has been missing over the first three days and won six holes in a row with birdies at the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th.
Dustin Johnson (U.S) def. Danny Lee (INT) 2&1: This match started off terribly for Danny Lee, he bogeyed the first three holes to fall 3 down early on, but he slowly got himself back into the match . With a birdie at the 11th hole Lee found himself back to all square against Johnson and then took the lead with a birdie at the 14th hole after Johnson found the hazard. However, Lee lost the next three holes by making three consecutive birdies and Johnson picked up another much needed point for the Americans.
Hideki Matsuyama (INT) def. JB Holmes (U.S) 1UP: Matsuyama won the match on the final hole with a birdie after Holmes failed to get up and down for a birdie. It was a key point for the Internationals and one that as greatly celebrated by Nick Price and the rest of the team.
Bubba Watson (U.S) halved with Thongchai Jaidee (INT): Bubba won the second hole and led for the whole match until Jaidee pulled it back to all square at the 17th hole. It was a great comeback after being 3 down at one stage in the match. After finding the water at the 18th hole Jaidee looked to have lost the match at the last, but Watson missed a 5-foot birdie putt which gave the International team a half point.
Steven Bowditch (INT) def. Jimmy Walker (U.S) 2UP: Bowdicth won the valuable point for the Internationals with a back-nine comeback after finding himself 1 down after nine holes. After winning holes 10-12 Bowdicth was 2up on teh tee at the 17th, but a missed par putt lost him the hole and the match went down the final hole. A birdie for the Australian however won him his only point of the week.
Phil Mickelson (U.S) def. Charl Schwartzel (INT) 5&4: Captains pick Mickelson continued to prove why he was a great choice from Jay Haas. Schwartzel continued his poor form with two opening bogeys which gave Mickelson a 2up lead. From there, he was never down and won the match comfortably with a birdie at the 14th hole to secure the point for the U.S team.
Chris Kirk (U.S) def. Anirban Lahiri (INT) 1UP: As the matches were starting to come to a conclusion, this was a very important one at that for Team International. Kirk was up in the match from the 3rd to the 13th hole until Lahiri birdied 14 to get back to all square. It was level until the final hole and when Lahiri pitched to 4-foot it looked like he could steal the point. Kirk made an unlikely 15-foot birdie putt and put the pressure on the Indian debutant. The pressure was to much for Lahiri who lipped out from 4-feet to gift Kirk the point.
Marc Leishman (INT) def. Jordan Spieth (U.S) IUP: In what was a supposed guaranteed point for the U.S team, it turned out to be a great steal from Marc Leishman and the International team against the world number one Jordan Spieth. Once again, it was another back-nine comeback after he was 2 down early. Leisman squared the match at the 14th with a birdie and then went 1up with another at the 15th hole. Leishman made sure of the International point with a 8-foot birdie at the final hole to secure an unlikely point.
Zach Johnson (U.S) def. Jason Day (INT) 3&2: The unlikely point that Leishman won against Spieth was quickly cancelled out when Zach Johnson defeated Jason Day. Day never really got close to Johnson who was 5 up through 11 holes. Day made a comeback and got back to 2 down through 15 holes. However, a par for Johnson at the 16th hole wrapped up the victory for the U.S team.
Branden Grace (INT) def. Matt Kuchar (U.S) 2&1: The in form South African was 5 up through 9 holes and continued his incredible run with a comfortable win against Kuchar. The American threatened to make a comeback as he won the 10th, 14th 15th and 16th holes, but Grace closed out victory on the 17th hole to take his 2015 Presidents Cup record to 5-0-0.
Bill Haas (U.S) def. Sangmoon Bae (INT) 2UP: The 2015 Presidents Cup came down to the final hole, and with Sangmoon Bae 1 down on the 18th hole he needed to chip in for Eagle to win the hole and share the Presidents Cup with the Americans. Bae attempted to chip into the bank but agonisingly missed the ridge and saw the ball roll back to his feet. He was heartbroken and when Haas pitched out of the bunker to 5-feet Bae conceded the match, much to the delight of Jay Haas, who had just saw his son win the point that helped the U.S team retain the Presidents Cup.
All in all it was a brilliant Presidents Cup and a lot closer than predicted. It shows the game of Golf is in a good place right now and with a lot of good players coming through, we are in for another brilliant season next year.