INCHEON (AFP) - South Korea's Bae Sang Moon and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama wrote themselves into Presidents Cup folklore on Saturday with a thumping four-ball victory for the International team.
They blew away the American pair Jimmy Walker and Chris Kirk 6 and 5 in the most accomplished display of better-ball golf of the week, during which they birdied an astonishing nine of the first 11 holes.
Only twice before has a match ended after fewer holes in Presidents Cup history. South David Frost beat Kenny Perry of the United States 7 and 6 in 1996, while another Korean, K.J. Choi, partnered Adam Scott to a 7 and 6 victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in 2011.
But the Presidents Cup remained on a knife-edge with the score 9.5-8.5 to the Americans, with Sunday's 12 singles to come after both the Saturday foursomes and four-ball were shared 2-2.
Cheered on by massive galleries out to see their Korean golfing hero on a damp, cold, windy and overcast day at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, Bae slammed home three birdies in a row from the seventh to take the International team duo to four up.
"Early we were making a lot of birdies but not really getting ahead," said Matsuyama. "Sang Moon's birdies on seven, eight and nine really got us going."
Matsuyama, not to be outdone, rammed home two more on the 10th and 11th as the pair stormed to six up with seven to play.
"It was a joy to play with him and everyone was cheering us on," added Matsuyama, who revealed the secret to their success. "One advantage that we had is I don't speak a lot of English, but Sang Moon does speak Japanese, and that really helped our chemistry."
Such was their dominance that when they halved the next hole to lie six up with six to play, Walker mistakenly offered a handshake thinking the Americans had already lost.
He did not have to wait long as the Asian pair closed it out on the next green to square the overall match score.
"I'm really glad to be here, because a lot of Korean people are coming out and supporting the International Team, it really means a lot," said Bae. "Definitely we had a really, really good round today.
"You know, every time I hit every single shot or every putt, it's a little nervous because everybody is looking at me," said Bae about playing in front of his home crowd.
"It's a lot of nerves but I have to play good. I'm really looking forward to playing singles tomorrow."