The 2013 Presidents Cup has been a wild affair, with momentum swinging in virtually every match. Early on Day 3 of the action, however, Team USA earned two key victories to gain a three-point advantage at 8.5 to 5.5.
Here's how the Americans picked up a commanding lead in Columbus, Ohio.
Entering Day 3, the U.S. and the International team had been playing close, with the Americans earning a 6.5 to 5.5 lead. After picking up a one-point edge on Day 1, the team split six points on Day 2 and reached the third round with nothing short of uncertainty.
Early on, it was a round of redemption for the Americans.
Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelseon
Opponents: Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge
Score: 2 and 1
Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson have both won major championships, with "Lefty" owning five and Bradley taking home the 2011 PGA Championship. During the first round of the 2013 Presidents Cup, however, the duo was bested by Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel by 2 and 1.
Since then, Bradley and Mickelson have won back-to-back matches, using a Day 2 4-and-3 win over Jason Day and Graham DeLaet to spark another victory on Day 3.
Paired against Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge, Bradley and Mickelson walked away with a 2-and-1 win. It didn't start well, but Team USA displayed resiliency as both men came up with huge birdie putts to recover from a two-stroke disadvantage.
From there, the Americans dominated the back nine to earn a point for their country.
Team USA has a pairing it can trust moving forward.
Els and de Jonge jumped out to an early two-stroke advantage after winning Nos. 3 and 7, and they displayed no signs of slowing down. Facing a potential blowout, Mickelson acted fast with a birdie on No. 8, and Bradley followed with one on No. 9 to even things up.
Mickelson proceeded to win consecutive holes on 12 and 13, and Bradley won No. 15 with a birdie to net the match-deciding point.
With the fourth round looming, the Americans will need Bradley and Mickelson to continue playing extraordinary golf. Crazier comebacks have happened, and after the U.S. blew a four-point lead during the final round of the 2012 Ryder Cup en route to a 14.5 to 13.5 loss, the potential for a collapse is real.
It's on Bradley and Mickelson to continue setting the pace for Team USA as it hopes to avoid disaster.
Bill Haas and Webb Simpson
Opponents: Angel Cabrera and Branden Grace
Score: 4 and 3
Bill Haas and Webb Simpson had a monumental collapse during the first round, blowing three separate leads en route to a half against Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama. That includes two different one-stroke advantages on the final four holes.
During the second round, Haas teamed with Hunter Mahan and Simpson with Brandt Snedeker. Haas and Mahan lost 4 and 3, while Simpson and Snedeker fell 2 and 1.
On Day 3, Haas and Simpson finally discovered how to win in Columbus.
Matched up against Angel Cabrera and Branden Grace, the Americans used a dominant 10-hole stretch to end things on 15. Haas and Simpson combined for eight birdies during that time and went from even on No. 5 to 4-Up on 13.
From there, it was a matter of consistency as Team USA closed out a major victory.
The numbers don't lie: Cabrera and Grace played an excellent round of golf, but Haas and Simpson were just too good.
In total, Haas and Simpson registered 12 birdies and lost just two holes to Cabrera and Grace. From Nos. 9 to 13, the American duo won three holes to go from 1-Up to 4-Up and create an insurmountable advantage.
Both men needed this one.
Haas and Simpson are a reliable duo, but in 2013, neither man has had much to be happy about at the Presidents Cup. After playing a downright masterful first 14 holes during the first round, it's all been downhill.
Thankfully, they rebounded on Day 3 and picked up a huge win.
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