Woods without a point as Americans keep the lead

Melbourne: The Americans kept the lead in the Presidents Cup, and they still don`t have a point from Tiger Woods.

Woods is 0-2 for the first time ever in this event, and the first time in any team competition since he and Phil Mickelson lost their opening two matches at the 2004 Ryder Cup.

Aaron Baddeley earned a small measure of redemption by making a strong par on the 18th hole as he and Jason Day finished the job in fourballs for a 1-up win over Woods and Dustin Johnson.

In the opening round, Baddeley contributed to his side losing the last two holes and having to settle for a half-point.

"I was very disappointed yesterday. I feel like I let Jason down," Baddeley said. "So it was great to come through today and make par on the last hole."

Woods was the only American without a point, although his game has been decent.

His partnership -- Steve Stricker in foursomes Thursday, Johnson in fourballs on Friday -- have won one hole. That came on the fourth hole when Woods rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt, complete with a fist pump that is rarely seen these days.

All that mattered was his teammates taking on the worst kind of wind at Royal Melbourne and winning three matches to assure themselves the lead going into a double session on Saturday.

The wind was vicious, and out of the north. Instead of a fourballs session loaded with birdies, most players were happy with pars. That included Woods, who along with Johnson had a tough time getting it close to the hole for a good look at birdie.

"Just trying to hit the greens, that was s heck of an accomplishment," Woods said. "Wedges weren`t holding, balls were oscillating on the greens, you`ve got to play the wind on putts. It was a tough day."

Els, a multiple winner at Royal Melbourne, said it was the fastest he has ever seen the greens because of the heat and wind. Officials did not cut the greens overnight, fearful of wind blowing golf balls all over the place.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I`d give it an 11 today," International captain Greg Norman said about the conditions as the round began.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, the leadoff match for the second straight day, again beat Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa, closing them out on the second hole. Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk also remained perfect, with Furyk making a birdie on the 17th for a 2-and-1 win over Adam Scott and K.T. Kim.

Stricker was paired with Matt Kuchar, only it was Kuchar who holed all the big putts in a 4-and-3 win over Robert Allenby and Y.E. Yang. There were two matches still on the course, and the International team led both of them.

At worst, the Americans would have a 7-5 lead, with 10 points at stake on Saturday.

Bureau Report

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