Aided by the expert caddying tips of ‘Sammy the squirrel’, the US team laid the foundations for overall success by finishing one point ahead after a thrilling day of fourballs, though a late rally from the International team ensured The Presidents Cup is still very much on ahead of the trickier foursomes.
Led by the inspired form of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson, who won their respective fourball 5-3 over Branden Grace and Richard Sterne, the US team solidified their 2/9 favouritism to lift a sixth straight Presidents Cup on home soil.
However, a 20ft birdie putt from Jason Day on the 18th to secure a win over Brandt Snedeker and Hunter Mahan, typified a spirited comeback from the International team, when things had been looking increasingly one-sided in the early part of the day – giving the 7/2 on a win for the visitors some bona fide appeal.
Next-up are the foursomes, where the chosen partnerships get the acid test as the alternate shot matchplay comes into effect.
And while honorary Muirfield Village member Day stole the headlines with his match-winning putt, his Canadian playing partner Graham Delaet was the real hero of the duo, carding six birdies.
Off the back of that rousing victory at 18, the 11/8 on beating Phil Mickelson – whose swing deserted him after the rain delay on day one – and Keegan Bradley, could be the value pick for the International team.
Meanwhile, priced at 4/6 to beat the outplayed pairing of Sterne and Grace is the PGA Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth and veteran Steve Stricker, who formed a formidable if unlikely partnership on day one.
Spieth helped himself to six birdies, though his partner used all his experience to expertly unplug a wayward drive from the greenside bunker on 18, to leave himself a 3ft putt to ensure victory.
From the match of the day on Thursday, American Bill Haas was pretty irresistible alongside Webb Simpson on his way to four birdies on the back-nine – birdie-fest – which was their halved contest against Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama.
Haas is paired with Mahan in the only swap of day two, but in Haas’ form, their 5/6 to shoot lower than defeated South African duo Ernie Els and Brendan De Jonge looks good.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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