Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri and South African Charl Schwartzel combined for a disastrous show as the International team suffered its biggest loss of the ongoing President’s Cup, conceding a big lead to the USA here.
Lahiri and Schwartzel went down 6 & 5.
Overall, it was a day of misery for the Internationals, who had only half a point to show for the day’s work. They lost four matches and halved one. US lead the match 8-2, the biggest margin at this stage in the President’s Cup history.
Both Lahiri and Schwartzel have been left out of Saturday’s morning foursomes.
Two sessions of four fourballs and foursomes each on Saturday and 12 singles on Sunday with a total of 20 points are still left in the match.
Lahiri and Schwartzel were beaten 6 & 5 as the match, which was fourth on the day’s agenda, ended first on the 13th hole.
It was Lahiri’s first match this year and his fourth career loss in the President’s Cup. Schwartzel was on the losing side with a massive defeat for the second day running.
In contrast, Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman, both rookies, gave their President’s Cup career a flying start. Enduring a disqualification by being banned from the fourth hole, the Lahiri-Schwartzel pair was never in the match.
They had one birdie each and even that came on the same hole, the 10th, the only hole they won.
They were five-down on front nine, caught up one and then lost again on 12th and 13th, where the match ended.
After sitting out the first day, Lahiri began the second day by hitting his opening shot into water on the first hole. He went into the bunker on the second from where he was unable to come out.
He dragged the ball back and played a practice shot, which was a rules infringement. That was discovered only when a TV crew alerted the referee.
No one seemed to know the rule — not Lahiri, not Schwartzel, or the US pair or the referee or Assistant skipper, Ernie Els.
As per rules of fourballs and President’s Cup, a player cannot practice from a hazard but can do so while chipping or putting on the green or even the tee box. It was downslide from there till the end.
After Chappell and Hoffman crushed Schwartzel and Lahiri, the strongest pair in Internationals, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace’s winning streak of five matches going back to 2015, ended 3&2 against Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas.
Phil Mickelson, playing with Kevin Kisner, pulled off a long putt on the 18th to snatch a full point for US from Jason Day and Marc Leishman, after trailing till the 14th.
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka beat Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas 3&2 after trailing through the first six holes.
Lahiri’s thoughts summed up the day.
“We got off to a terrible start and felt unsettled through the day. We just could find the rhythm. It was a bad day for both us and we also hit some bad shots,” admitted Lahiri.
“We did not play the Par-5s well, missed a lot of birdies and actually had just one each and they came on the same hole, the tenth.”
Results: USA lead 8-2
Day 2: Fourballs:
Match 6: Spieth/ Reed (U.S.) halved with Matsuyama/ Hadwin(Intl)
Match 7: Fowler/ Thomas (U.S.) bt Oosthuizen/ Grace (Intl)
Match 8: Mickelson/ Kisner (U.S.) bt Day/ Leishman (Intl) 1 up
Match 9: Chappell/ Hoffman (U.S.) bt Schwartzel/ Lahiri (Intl) 6 and 5.
Match 10: D Johnson/ Koepka (U.S.) bt Scott/ Vegas (Intl) 3 and 2
Day Three Pairings
Match 11: Reed/ Spieth (U.S.) vs. Day/ Leishman (Intl)
Match 12: D Johnson/ Kuchar (U.S.) vs. Scott/ Hadwin (Intl)
Match 13: Mickelson/ Kisner (U.S.) vs. Vegas/ Grillo (Intl)
Match 14: Thomas/ Fowler (U.S.) vs. Oosthuizen/ Grace.