DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) — Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley drew first blood for the United States in Friday's weather-delayed foursomes at the 10th Presidents Cup with a 4&3 win over Australian Jason Day and Canada's Graham DeLaet.
Though the American duo stumbled late in the round, losing the 13th and 14th with successive bogeys after going six up with six to play, they sealed victory when Bradley sank a three-foot birdie putt at the par-five 15th.
Soon after, South African Ernie Els and Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge triumphed 4&3 against Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan in a match where they never trailed after going two up through three holes.
That put the U.S. ahead, 4½-3½ overall in their bid to win the trophy for an eighth time, and they led in two of the four remaining matches while trailing in two.
However there was no chance of all those encounters finishing on Friday, following a weather delay earlier of just over two-and-a-half hours due to a thunderstorm at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Steve Stricker and 20-year-old rookie Jordan Spieth were three up on South Africans Branden Grace and Richard Sterne after 14 holes while Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar were two up on South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel after 11 in the day's marquee match.
The Internationals, who have lost the last seven sessions of foursomes at the Presidents Cup, had welcome blue numbers on the leaderboard in the fourth and last matches out.
Argentina's Angel Cabrera and Australian Marc Leishman were one up on Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker after 13 holes while Masters champion Adam Scott and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama were four up on Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner after 11.
Mickelson and Bradley had earlier staged a stirring comeback for the U.S. in the first match out before torrential rain swept across the course and, as thunder rumbled overhead, the siren sounded at 3:09 p.m. to halt the action.
Mickelson and Bradley did well to go just one down after being outplayed by Day and DeLaet over the first four holes, then won the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth to go three up.
Left-hander Mickelson sparked the fightback by sinking a 15-foot eagle putt from the fringe at the par-five fifth before hitting a stunning approach to inside two feet at the par-four sixth in the alternate-shot format.
The United States, who have won the last four Presidents Cups, led by 3-1/2 points to 2-1/2 after Thursday's opening fourball matches when play was also interrupted by a thunderstorm.