It was important for the underdog Team International to get off to a solid start in the Presidents Cup, and thanks to a late surge, they did.
The Americans have a 3.5-to-2.5 lead after winning three of the six matches and halving another. For much of Thursday, that lead looked like it would be much bigger. I'll get into that, but first check out the results from Thursday's action.
The Americans were cruising along in firm control early. All six pairings held the lead in their matches. Then Mother Nature interrupted play.
Play was halted for nearly 90 minutes. This softened up the course, which at Muirfield makes a big difference. Nailing good approach shots is key to succeeding on the Jack Nicklaus course, and that was far easier with soft greens.
At any rate, the pause in action came at the right time for the International golfers. They played better upon returning to the course.
Jason Day and Graham DeLaet provided a big spark for Team International. At the weather break, they were trailing by three to Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker.
The International duo battled back, and after Day played a flawless 18th, they pulled out the needed point.
That comeback and the win by Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were huge for the International side.
The Americans have dominated this competition over the years. This biennial competition began in 1994. Team International has won just once.
The big problem for the Internationals is that they have always had a hard time matching the depth of the Americans. This year figures to be no different.
Thursday's action was all four-ball play. So, teammates each played their own ball, while only the lowest score was counted for the hole. This effectively limits inconsistency, which helps the more shallow international side.
On Friday, the two sides are going to battle in foursome play. In that format, teammates will alternate shots and play just one ball per hole. This way offers less room for error.
It was important for the International side to enter the daunting task of Friday off a solid performance on Thursday. Thanks to their comeback, they will do just that.
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