It was a matter of shots for Justin Leonard. The kind you hit. The kind you drink. Or make people think you’re drinking.
Leonard had a good Friday in the Presidents Cup. Teamed with Phil Mickelson to win their four-ball match at Harding Park. Helped the United States stay in front on Day 2, in effect ending up where it began, with three victories and three losses to the Internationals.
A lead that was 3 ½ -2 ½ after Thursday’s alternate shot foursomes was 6 1/2 to 5 ½ after Friday’s four-balls. A total of 17 /2 points is needed to win the Cup, which has five foursomes and five four-ball matches today and 12 singles Sunday.
Thursday, Leonard, a great putter, missed a 2-3 footer for a birdie on the 18th green, costing a victory and half a point. Leonard and Jim Furyk halving the match with Retief Goosen and Y.E. Yang.
“I was pretty mad at myself,’’ said Leonard. “Pretty upset. I went to the putting green and hit some putts and cooled off a bit. Then I told a little joke in the team to to let everybody know I was OK.’’
Then Leonard, not exactly known for his sense of humor, pulled a big joke. He had Furyk’s caddy, Fluff Cowan, line up glasses at the bar of what appeared to be vodka but was only water.
“I went in,’’ said Leonard, “slammed the door, threw my stuff down and walked over to the bar and took these five shots like they were nothing and then slammed a beer. The beer was real and tasted good.’’
His wife, Amanda, was in on it. Unlike some others.
“I think,’’ said Leonard, “a couple of wives thought, ‘Wow. He’s really into this.’ But it was all in good fun, and I just wanted to show everybody that I was good.’’
He was more than good. He was excellent. With the match Friday all square after 12 holes, Mickelson won 13 with a birdie and then Leonard won 14 and 16 with birdies.
“”We had a great partnership,’’ said Mickelson. “He came back after finishing the way (he did) Thursday night. He showed a lot of heart today.’’
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker showed a lot brilliance. They whipped the Internationals Geoff Ogilvy and Angel Cabrera, 5 and 3. After smashing Ogilvy and Reyo Ishikawa, 6 and 4, on Thursday.
“Steve and I get along well together,’’ said Woods. “In this format you have to make a bunch of birdies and we did most of the day.’’
Only once during the day did Tim Clark make eagle, a 3, but it came at 18 and gave him and Vijay Singh a 1 up win over Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover to keep the Internationals where they started, one point behind.
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