U.S. team pulls ahead in Presidents Cup

The U.S. team of Bubba Watson (left) and Webb Simpson have gone 3-0 in matches in the Presidents Cup. Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk are also unbeaten.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Two perfect teams, and a point for Tiger Woods. That’s all the Americans needed to take an 11-6 lead this morning in the Presidents Cup.


Phil Mickelson rolled in a 50-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole as he and Jim Fu­ryk went to 3-0 at Royal Mel­bourne in the fifth and final foursomes match.

“We turned it around,” Mickelson said. “We fought hard, and we ended up having a nice run on the back nine.”

In the leadoff match, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson also stayed undefeated (3-0).

Woods and playing partner Dustin Johnson finished off their 3-and-2 win with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to beat Adam Scott and K.J. Choi. It was small payback from losing to that International team – along with Woods’ ex-caddie Steve Williams, who now carries the bag for Scott – in Thurs­day’s match.

“I felt Dustin and I were playing well,” Woods said. “We just kept putting on the heat, and eventually one would fall.”

Five fourball matches were scheduled for the afternoon.


LPGA TOUR: In Orlando, Fla., Na Yeon Choi shot 1-under-par 71 in swirling wind to take a one-stroke lead over Sandra Gal after the second round of the LPGA Tour’s season-ending Titleholders.

Choi, the LPGA Malaysia winner last month, had a 7-under 137 total at Grand Cypress.

The South Korean player also topped the leaderboard Thursday after an opening 66.

Choi opened with a four-putt double bogey on the first hole and was 2 over through six holes. She rallied with three birdies in a four-hole stretch.

Gal, the German star who won the Kia Classic in March for her first LPGA Tour title, had her second consecutive 69.


EUROPEAN TOUR: In Ma­le­lane, South Africa, South Af­rica’s Jbe Kruger shot 5-under 67 at Leopard Creek to take a four-stroke lead in the Alfred Dunhill Champ­ionship. Kruger was 13-under in the event sanctioned by the European and Sunshine tours.

Seeking his first European tour title, Kruger had an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys.

He followed his eagle on the par-5 second with consecutive bogeys, but recovered to string together four birdies without dropping a shot coming in.

“I didn’t have fun in the early part of my round, but later I did have fun,” Kruger said.

“I think you should have fun; otherwise, why play? If you enjoy it you tend to play better.”

Chile’s Felipe Aguilar (64), Scotland's George Mur­ray (69) and England’s Seve Benson (71) were tied for second.

Kruger took advantage of a late slip-up by countryman George Coetzee, who led by four strokes but dropped five shots on his last three holes for a 71 that left him six shots behind at 7-under.


EUROPEAN/ASIAN TOURS: In Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Sweden’s Daniel Chopra fired 6-under-par 65 to take the lead at the Iskandar Jo­hor Open.

Dozens of other players failed to complete the second round amid concerns about lightning.

Two-time PGA Tour winner Chopra was in the clubhouse at 13-under 129 before play was suspended for 2½ hours at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club in Ma­laysia’s southern Johor state.

Chopra was five strokes ahead of Mohd Siddikur, of Bangladesh, and Swedish pair Christian Nilsson and Michael Jonzon.


CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Scotts­dale, Ariz., Jeff Freeman won the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament, shoot­ing his fourth consecutive 5-under-par 66 for a four-stroke victory on TPC Scotts­dale’s Champions Course

Gary Hallberg and Can­adian Jim Rutledge tied for second at 16-under. Hallberg closed with 68, and Rutledge finished with 68.

Jeff Hart (67) was fourth at 15-under, and P.H. Horgan III (68) was another stroke back to take the final exempt position.


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