Homa Lifts U.S. to 8-2 Lead Over Internationals in 14th Presidents Cup

Max Homa capped an undefeated day for the United States in fourball play at the 14th Presidents Cup in dramatic style.

Homa, from Valencia and Cal, sank birdie putts on the last two holes to lift himself and teammate Billy Horschel to a 1-up victory over Canadians Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith to give the Americans an 8-2 lead over the International Team at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.

“It’s pretty surreal to be out there by yourself and have 10 of the best players in world around the green rooting for you and counting on you,” said Homa, who chipped in for a birdie on the last hole to win the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort and Napa in his last start.

“It was great playing with Billy all day. We didn’t always have our best stuff, but we both made some big shots and big putts to pick each other up. Making those last two putts was just unbelievable. This is a day I will never forget.

“The atmosphere out there is insane. I was nervous as could be over that putt (on 18), but it was fun. I was telling my wife, when we talk about things money can’t buy, money cannot buy that feeling. That was something I will remember forever, and I will tell anybody who ever wants to hear about it how that felt. My adrenaline’s way higher (in the Presidents Cup) … so I have to manage that a bit better.”

The U.S. already had a 7-2 lead by winning two of the five earlier matches and halving the other two before Homa holed a 13-foot putt on the 17th hole to give him and Horschel a 1-up lead, and after Pendrith made a 25-footer for eagle on the last hole, Homa dropped in the winner from 11 feet.

The Americans, who lead the series, 11-1-1, need only 7½ more points to retain the Presidents Cup, with four foursomes and four fourball matches scheduled for Saturday, before things wrap up with 12 singles matches on Sunday.

“We’re not sitting there going, ‘OK, this is great,’” U.S. Captain Davis Love III said. “We’ve seen a lot of big leads lost. We’re going to try to be motivated and not really talk about the outcome till the end.”

Said European team captain Trevor Immelman of South Africa: “Our backs are up against the wall. We’re going to have to dig deep. But it’s going to have to start with making some putts.”

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas gave the Americans their first point of the day when Spieth sank a downhill, 20-foot birdie pout on 17th hole to turn back Australians Adam Scott and Cam Davis, 2 and 1.

Thomas improved to 5-0-0 in Presidents Cup fourball play, while Spieth is 4-2-1.

“I was trying to drop that putt in the front edge and it was going to go a good five or six feet past the hole,” Spieth said of his winning putt. “It wasn’t exactly what I was trying to do there. But it was the right line.”

Said Thomas: “I really enjoy a great partner. I’m glad I put some ham in my omelet this morning, for a nice little ham ’n egg out there. Jordan is starting to feel it with his putter, and it’s a fun sight to see.”

Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, with Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, won for the second straight day, building a 5-up lead and defeated defeating Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Tom Kim of South Korea, 3 and 2.

The International team picked up one point on Friday from two halved matches.

Sebastian Munoz of Colombia won the 18th with a par to team with Sungjae Im of South Korea for a halve against top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who left a birdie pout short on the lip on the final hole while teamed with Sam Burns, who sank an incredible 80-foot eagle putt at No. 7.

Rookie Cameron Young, teamed with Kevin Kisner, made a two-putt par to win the 14th hole to pull even and they tied the last four holes with Mito Pereira of Chile and Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa to halve their match.

In Saturday morning’s foursomes, Spieth and Thomas will open against Im and Conners, Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Young will take on Matsuyama and Scott, Scheffler and Burns will face Kim and K.H. Lee of South Korea, and Homa and Tony Finau will meet Davis and Si Woo Kim of South Korea.

The afternoon fourball pairings will be announced later Saturday.

For complete results and Saturday morning’s foursome pairings, and later the afternoon fourball pairings visit https://www.presidentscup.com/leaderboard.html   

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