Julio Cortez/Associated Press
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner rehearsed the dance from ‘‘Three Amigos.’’ The only question was whether to use it at the Presidents Cup, and as the veteran of 23 team events, Mickelson concluded it would need to be a big moment.
Their match was all square on the 18th hole Friday. Mickelson was 12 feet away for birdie. A victory would give the Americans a record lead.
‘‘If this putt goes in,’’ Mickelson said he told his rookie partner, ‘‘we’re going to dance.’’
This turned out to be one big dance party for an American team that has gone nearly two decades without losing. They hammered the International teams on the back nine to go unbeaten in fourballs and build an 8-2 lead, the largest margin after two sessions since the Presidents Cup began in 1994.
Mickelson had his 24th match victory to tie the Presidents Cup record held by Tiger Woods, and he set a record with his 10th victory in fourballs.
As for that dance ?
It looked a little awkward, though Mickelson did slightly better than when he cropped most of his face out of a selfie he took during the opening ceremony with the last three US presidents.
‘‘I’m clearly the worst selfie taker. I’m the worst ‘Three Amigos’ dancer,’’ Mickelson said. ‘‘But I can putt.’’
So can his teammates, who have followed the script set out by US captain Steve Stricker to win every session. They won handily in the other three matches. The other match was a halve, but even in that one, Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin had a 2-up lead with four holes to play until Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed rallied. The Americans nearly won that one, too, except that Spieth narrowly missed birdie putts on the last two holes.
‘‘Our guys stepped up again,’’ Stricker said. ‘‘They have a knack for doing that. To finish like that is huge for us going into tomorrow.’’
Mathematically, the International team could be done Saturday, the first day of a double session — four matches of foursomes in the morning, following by four matches of fourballs in the afternoon. The Americans are 7½ points away from clinching the cup.
‘‘I think we saw the strength of the US team come out today,’’ International captain Nick Price said.
He also saw his team play its worst golf on the back nine at Liberty National. The Americans won 13 holes on the back nine. The Internationals won three.
Price was not about to give up, hopeful of gaining some momentum in the morning and riding it into the afternoon ahead of the 12 singles matches on the final day.
Justin Thomas, already with a big year behind him as a major champion and the FedEx Cup champion, teamed with Rickie Fowler for another easy victory. They have trailed only one hole in their two matches, and they became the first partnership to beat Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.
The shortest match of the day belonged to a pair of American rookies, Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman, who sat out the foursomes matches in the opening session. They were 3 up after four holes against Charl Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri and never let up in a 6-and-5 victory.
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, close friends and the last two US Open champions, took their first lead on the par-3 10th with Koepka’s birdie, and Johnson showed rare emotion on his final two birdies in a 3-and-2 victory over Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas.
Scott set a record of his own — it was his 19th loss in the Presidents Cup, breaking the record held by Ernie Els.
The Americans have a 9-1-1 lead in the series, their only loss coming in 1998 at Royal Melbourne. But it has at least been close after the opening two sessions, with neither side leading by more than two points since 1998.
‘‘We’re going to keep the pedal down,’’ Hoffman said. ‘‘These guys are going to keep pushing us. We’re not going to get complacent where we’re at right now.’’
The Patriots found a way despite missing Rob Gronkowski all game and Sony Michel for most of it.Continue reading »
Kimball Crossley examined the matchups within the series to identify strengths and weaknesses on both sides.Continue reading »
Craig Kimbrel and wife Ashley stood by as their 4-month-old daughter battled a congenital heart condition that necessitated multiple major surgeries. Lydia Joy Kimbrel will be a year old in 13 days.Continue reading »
The Patriots scored two touchdowns on special teams, one on a kickoff return and the other a game-changing blocked punt.Continue reading »
Wright, who was injured and replaced on the roster by Heath Hembree after the first game of the ALDS, must prove he’s fully healthy to be activated.Continue reading »
New England’s victory in Chicago Sunday was highlighted by a goal-line stand on a Hail Mary pass.Continue reading »
Drafted by Los Angeles in 1996, Cora spent nine years with the Dodgers and refers to his World Series opponent as a “special organization.” Roberts made his own history in Boston.Continue reading »
Duron Harmon and Devin McCourty were instructed not to jump, and it paid off.Continue reading »
The Red Sox’ hitting coach spent 2016-17 with the Dodgers, and has played a major role in developing both teams’ powerful lineups.Continue reading »