Charlotte (North Carolina), Sep 26 (IANS) Korea’s Si Woo Kim, Sungjae Im and K.H Lee brilliantly produced impressive wins in the Singles session at the Presidents Cup on Sunday as a battling International Team endured a tough 17.5 – 12.5 defeat to the United States Team.
A fourth Korean, the young sensation Tom Kim lost to Max Homa right at the end, after earlier securing two points for his team and winning the hearts of the crowds.
Si Woo Kim produced a stunning 1-up victory over World No. 7 Justin Thomas in the top match at Quail Hollow Club and his success was emulated by Im’s 1-up triumph over Cameron Young and Lee’s 3 and 1 domination of Billy Horschel.
Another great result for the Internationals, when Colombian Sebastian Munoz beat World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler 2 and 1.
Yet, the heroics failed to prevent another American triumph in the Presidents Cup as Xander Schauffele delivered the winning point with a narrow 1-up victory over Corey Conners of Canada after the U.S. had entered the final day with a 4-point lead.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama tied Sam Burns in a close encounter after watching his chip for birdie on the last green hit the pin and stayed out, while 20-year-old Tom Kim, who was arguably the star for the Internationals following Saturday’s heroics with two wins, ran out of steam after leading 3-up through 11 holes and lost 1-up to Max Homa.
Si Woo, a three-time PGA TOUR winner, emerged as the highest points earner for the International Team with three points in what was his second Presidents Cup appearance. He trailed 2-down at the turn but hit four brilliant birdies coming home to down Thomas, who had won four earlier matches with partner Jordan Spieth.
“I’ve never been like this (much) pressure, even when I won the PLAYERS Championship (in 2017),” said Si Woo.
“It’s a really hard match. It’s really special for me because I played J.T. in the WGC Match Play like three years ago, and I finished (lost) at the 13th hole, and I was a little emotional. But this time, I got my revenge.”
He added, “I love to play, like, team match. And Tom Kim gave me, like, good energy yesterday, and I believe I can do this. I did it.”
During a memorable week which delivered so many highlights, mainly from Tom Kim’s youthful exuberance and high-octane celebration which lifted the Internationals, Si Woo enjoyed his moment on the 15th green. Thomas had initially fired up the boisterous crowds after saving par from nine feet and after Si Woo matched him from inside of eight feet, the Korean produced a “shush” sign to the crowds by placing his finger on his lips, and letting out a big fist pump.
Thomas, a two-time major winner, took the defeat in his chin. “Honestly, at the time, I was pretty pissed off. I mean, he hit the shots and made the putts better than I did the last six holes when he needed to. So I can say whatever I want about it, but he beat me. So he has the upper hand on me,” said the American star.
Lee, one of six captain’s picks, repaid Immelman’s faith by delivering two points in his International Team debut. Despite the crushing loss, he hopes to fight his way back into the next Presidents Cup which will be played at Royal Montreal in Canada in 2024.
Immelman praised his 12 men for fighting back from two heavy losses in the first two rounds and had entered the weekend down by 8-2. A stirring fightback in the last two days, led primarily by some stunning golf from rookie Tom Kim, saw the Internationals win 10.5 points to the U.S. 9.5 points over the weekend sessions.
Australian veteran star Adam Scott, who lost in the fourth singles match 3 and 2 to Patrick Cantlay, believes many of the International team members, who comprised of eight rookies, would form the backbone of future teams.