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2019 Presidents Cup: Late surge from Fowler/Woodland salvages tie in 2nd round

The U.S. team trails 6 1⁄2 - 3 1⁄2 going into the third round.

2019 Presidents Cup - Day 2 Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Rickie Fowler, former All-American golfer for Oklahoma State, and Gary Woodland tied their two-ball foursome match vs Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im in the second round of the 13th biennial Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course in Australia.

With their tie and clutch wins from Tiger Woods/Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay, the U.S. salvaged a day two score of 6 ½ - 3 ½. Not the most ideal situation, but it feels like the U.S. has momentum considering there was a real threat of falling behind 9-1 until the back nine surge from the yanks.

“It’s better than a loss, that’s for sure,” Fowler, who was the last man picked to be on the President’s Cup roster, told the Golf Channel after the hard-fought tie.

“We could have done a little bit better on the greens, both of us, but we made some great putts coming in and I feel like our iron shots today took care of business.”

Fowler and Woodland, the 2019 U.S. Open Champion, fell behind early— 2-down through the first two holes, in fact— and stayed behind until the 17th, where Woodland hit a beauty from 162 yards to within four feet for an easy birdie putt from the birthday boy Fowler to even the score going to the 18th, where both teams parred.

The U.S. duo found their momentum on the back nine, with four straight birdies from holes 14-17, while Woods/Thomas and Schauffele/Cantlay were capping off their own comebacks.

The comeback formula consisted of very aggressive approach shots from Woodland and Rickie’s steady putting stroke.

“We have one of the best putters in the world in Rick, and he was freeing me up to hit some good shots in there,” Woodland said.

Fowler, who didn’t play in the first round, moves his President’s Cup Record to 3-1-2.

Tiger Woods was criticized for picking Fowler to replace Koepka because the former Poke is coming off of a terrible bacterial infection and has only played in one event since August. But Fowler’s clutch play and great team attitude appear to be making the decision worthwhile.

The third round of the Cup on Friday consists of 36 holes of four foursome matches (two players alternate hitting one ball) and four four-ball matches (each player hits their own ball, best score of two players counts), and coverage will begin on the Golf Channel at 2 p.m.