MELBOURNE (AFP) – Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler threw away a five hole lead to squander the chance for Tiger Woods’ United States (US) team to narrow the gap further at the Presidents Cup yesterday.
The American pair won their morning fourballs by trouncing Marc Leishman and China’s Li Haotong and looked on track for another convincing win in the afternoon alternate shot format against the Australian and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer.
But after being five up on the 10th, they went to sleep with the International pair storming back to halve the match on the 18th in an astonishing recovery.
It ended world number four Thomas’ winning run at Royal Melbourne. He has now earned 3.5 points in his four matches, as has debutant Ancer. After relying on Thomas over the first three sessions, his teammates finally stepped up to help the US win the foursomes 3-1 after losing the fourballs 2.5-1.5.
It leaves the biennial match play event finely poised, with Ernie Els’ team 10-8 in front going into Sunday’s 12 singles.
Fowler’s approach shots were superb, allowing Thomas to finish off the good work with the putter on the front nine before Leishman and Ancer flipped a switch, winning five holes, including the last three, for an unexpected half point.
“Pretty amazing. Even when we were down on the front nine there, our spirits got a little low there for a few holes and the crowd was still getting behind us,” said Leishman.