Golf-Lack of putting not fight has Internationals in hole, says captain

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By Steve Keating

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) – A lack of clutch putting not fight says International captain Trevor Immelman has put his team in the hole they will try to climb out of on Saturday to keep the United States from bringing the Presidents Cup to an early conclusion.

Hammered 4-1 in both the opening foursomes (alternate shot) and fourball (best ball) sessions the Internationals trail the rampaging U.S. 8-2 after two days and must quickly find a way to slow the American juggernaut.

The U.S. have dominated the biennial competition with an 11-1-1 record and are in position to register a Presidents Cup first – clinching the golden trophy on Saturday and making Sunday’s 12 singles matches nothing more than a victory lap for the hosts.

With two sessions scheduled for a marathon Saturday (foursomes and fourballs) the Americans will be targeting the 15 1/2 total points needed to lift the Cup for a 12th time and extend their unbeaten run on home soil.

“We’ve just got to keep fighting,” said Immelman. “Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

“We feel like we’ve played some pretty good golf, some solid golf tee-to-green, particularly the last

couple of days, but we have absolutely been out-putted.

“Hat’s off to the Americans with the way they’ve putted.

“We feel like that’s been the difference right now.

“Back’s up against the wall. Going to have to dig deep, but it’s going to have to start with making some putts for sure.”

A pivotal Saturday will start with foursomes and Immelman sending four of the same pairs that were humbled in a disappointing opening round.

Despite seeing his two most experienced players Adam Scott and Hideki Matusyama brushed aside 6&5 in the opening foursomes Immelman showed faith in the two struggling veterans reuniting them take on Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young.

Australian Cam Davis and South Korean Kim Si-woo, who have earned the Internationals only full point with a victory over the American all-star pairing of world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, will this time take on Tony Finau and Max Homa.

U.S. captain Davis Love III has also kept the faith with Scheffler and Burns, who remain a partnership despite having yet to win a match following up their loss in the foursomes followed by a tie and half-point in the fourball.

Scheffler and Burns will when they meet the Korean duo of Tom Kim and K.H. Lee.

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, winners of both their matches so far, will look to improve 3-0-0 when they face Canadian Corey Conners and South Korean Im Sung-jae.

“Trevor’s right, there’s a whole lot of points left,” cautioned Love. “We’ve seen a lot of big leads lost.

“We’re going to try to be motivated to play tomorrow and not really talk about the outcome till the end.

“It’s far from over.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Charlotte; Editing by Robert Birsel)