Golf: Long, soggy weekend in store at Presidents Cup

The shadow of a marshal is seen as he walks near a green during the Day One Four-Ball Matches on the first tee at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on Oct 3, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. United States and Internationals golfers were looking at a long and sog
The shadow of a marshal is seen as he walks near a green during the Day One Four-Ball Matches on the first tee at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on Oct 3, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. United States and Internationals golfers were looking at a long and soggy weekend at the Presidents Cup, which resumed on Friday at Muirfield Village following heavy rain and a severe thunderstorm. -- PHOTO: AFP

COLUMBUS (AFP) - United States (US) and Internationals golfers were looking at a long and soggy weekend at the Presidents Cup, which resumed on Friday at Muirfield Village following heavy rain and a severe thunderstorm.

Six alternate-shot foursomes matches were halted by the downpour, which dumped 2.08cm of rain on the course in about 90 minutes.

After the deluge, drenched workers tried to clear puddles from bunkers and standing water off greens with varying degrees of success.

After a delay of two hours and 36 minutes, players returned under "lift, clean and place" rules with the US team leading in three matches, the Internationals ahead in two and another all square.

The Americans, who dominate the biennial rivalry 7-1-1 after winning the past four in a row, led 3 1/2-2 1/2 following Thursday's opening four-ball matches, which were also interrupted by a storm.

Each team had a 3-up lead through nine holes in one match on Friday but with little chance to finish by dusk, organisers pondered schedule changes with five morning four-ball and five afternoon foursomes matches set for Saturday.

An 80 per cent chance of thunderstorms is forecast on Sunday, when 12 concluding singles matches are planned.

Reigning British Open champion Phil Mickelson, a five-time major champion, and Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner, were 3-up through nine over Australian Jason Day and Canada's Graham DeLaet.

Day sank a 12-foot birdie putt to win the first hole but Mickelson answered with a 17-foot eagle putt to win the par-5 fifth, then hit an approach inches from the hole to set up a birdie to take the sixth.

Another hole-winning US birdie at seven was followed by Bradley putting his tee shot at the par-3 eighth only three feet from the hole to set up another win for the US duo.

South Africa's Ernie Els and Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge were 3-up after nine on Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas. Three birdies and an eagle in the first five holes put the African duo ahead and Els halved the ninth with a bunker chip-in birdie.

The Internationals have not won an alternate-shot session since 2005, dropping seven in a row to the Americans.

Since the Internationals won the 1998 trophy, the US team has not been outscored in foursomes in any Cup, owning a 46 1/2-18 1/2 combined edge in the format entering on Friday.

A first-hole birdie gave world number one Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar a 1-up lead through five holes over South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, and compatriot Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open winner.

Reigning Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia and 21-year-old Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama were 2-up after five holes against major winners Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, thanks to birdies at the second and fifth.

Argentina's Angel Cabrera and Aussie Marc Leishman were all square after six holes against Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker.

Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth were 1-up after seven over South Africans Branden Grace and Richard Sterne.