Team International enjoyed a stout day on Friday at The Concession Golf Club, sweeping two sessions of team golf to jet from the basement to the rooftop of the inaugural three-team World Champions Cup. As the weekend beckoned, certainly Team International, representing the rest of the world, was ready to raise a pint to the effort.
It’s enjoyable at any tournament to have a lead, but with two six-match sessions of Singles remaining on Sunday, there are as many points remaining left to play for (324 points over six three-team Singles) as those doled out over four team sessions that have been staged the last two days.
Having spearheaded Europe’s push for the lead on day one, captain Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie were slow out of the blocks in the morning Sixball session, picking up just 3.5 points to the 11.5 amassed by David Toms and Brett Quigley for the US team and 12 points for the Internationals’ Retief Goosen and Steven Alker.
They’d improve in the afternoon Sixsomes, winning nine points, but seeing Europe fall to a 10-point deficit to the International side who lead by a half-point over the United States.
“Yeah, it was obviously a disappointing day for Europe today,” Clarke said afterwards. “Monty and I got off to a poor start this morning, didn’t really lead the team. It’s always nice coming out, seeing your fellow teammates with points on the board early. We didn’t do that this morning, simply didn’t play well enough, and the guys we were playing against played really well.
“But then we sort of rallied a little bit, played a little bit better this afternoon. As Bernhard said, we are obviously quite a few points behind, but with half the points total still to play for, if we go out and get off to a good start on Sunday, get some points up there, maybe inspire the rest of the guys.
“It’s like a Ryder Cup sort of thing, isn’t it? You never quite know when you get off to a good start and get some points early. We would have hoped to play a little bit better today, but it’s always nice to finish with Bernhard holing that putt there on 18 to sneak us a couple of points.
“I know you’re not going to say that (referencing Jerry Kelly.) From a European point of view it was nice that Bernhard was able to do that, and the guys played well and got us some points this afternoon.”