US on brink of crushing Presidents Cup victory

The host can secure its 10th Presidents Cup crown with just one point on Sunday. Its 11-point lead is the largest ever going into the final day.

Lahiri and Kim's 1-up win over Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell (2nd from L) was the only thing stopping the mighty Americans from becoming the first team to clinch the Cup before Sunday's 12 singles matches even start.   -  AP

The United States is one match win away from an epic Presidents Cup triumph, with only Internationals Anirban Lahiri and Kim Si-Woo preventing it from an unprecedented Saturday celebration.

Lahiri and Kim's 1-up win over Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell was the only thing stopping the mighty Americans from becoming the first team to clinch the Cup before Sunday's 12 singles matches even start.

It was a small consolation for an International team battered into submission by the United States, which won six of eight matches on Saturday, halved another and lost just its second match of the week.

When the dust settled at Liberty National Golf Club, the United States led 14.5 to 3.5 points.

It can secure its 10th Presidents Cup crown with just one point on Sunday. Its 11-point lead is the largest ever going into the final day.

The Internationals will be hard-pressed to prevent the opposition from notching the biggest win since the biennial match play competition was launched in 1994.

"I think all of us are going to go out there and try and play our best," Lahiri said. "We have to play for our pride."

The Americans won 21.5 to 10.5 in 2000 - before the number of matches was reduced to the current 30.

Phil Mickelson, the only man to play in all 12 Presidents Cups - and a veteran of 23 US match play teams - nabbed a record-setting 25th victory in the morning foursomes, teaming with Kevin Kisner in a 2 & 1 victory over Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo.

Jordan Spieth shook off a rules controversy to grab a third win this week with Patrick Reed - a 2 & 1 fourball victory over Australian Jason Day and South African Louis Oosthuizen.

The International team's failure to fire - it trailed by a record six points after the first two days - had robbed the tournament of suspense.

The US push to clinch the Cup on Saturday lent drama to the afternoon, but Presidents Cup rookie Kim and captain's pick Lahiri came through.

Hoffman and Chappell were 1-up through 14, but Kim squared the match with a seven-foot birdie.

Lahiri followed with a 16-foot birdie putt to claim the 16th.

At 17, Hoffman chipped in from in front of the green before Lahiri poured in a 19-foot birdie putt to halve the hole.

After making its par at the last, America conceded Lahiri's four-footer for par and the Internationals at last had another win on the board.

Tough week

"Obviously it's been a tough week for the team, so we were trying our hearts out," Lahiri said. "It was nice to come up with a full point."

By then, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger had rallied for a 3 & 2 win over Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Vegas.

Matsuyama and Vegas were 3-up through four, but wouldn't win another hole.

World number one Dustin Johnson and US Open champion Brooks Koepka never trailed in their 3 & 2 fourball win over South African Branden Grace and Aussie Marc Leishman.

Spieth and Reed, fresh off a 4 & 3 foursomes win over Day and Leishman, triumphed again in the afternoon despite Spieth's hotly debated disqualification from the 12th hole.

Day had birdied the hole and when Oosthuizen's eagle attempt from off the green raced past the cup, Spieth used his putter to pick up the still rolling ball.

That put the British Open champion afoul of the golf rule prohibiting influencing the movement of a ball in play, and Spieth was denied a chance to attempt his own 12-foot birdie putt to halve.

Day and Oosthuizen maintained their 1-up lead through the 14th, but the Americans won three straight holes to close out the victory.

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