Marc Leishman says the Internationals have been backed into a must-win second session after they squandered a chance to lead the first day of the Presidents Cup.
The US continued their dominance in the biennial teams event, having led after every session since the final day of their 2005 Cup win.
On Thursday, a star-studded 10-man American outfit demonstrated their potency by taking a 3.5-1.5 lead in the foursomes at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey.
Chasing their first Cup victory since Royal Melbourne in 1998, Internationals star Leishman is confident of chasing down the deficit in the four-ball (best ball) session on day two.
“Fourball, we’ve been stronger at in the past,” said Leishman of Friday’s format.
“If we have a good day, there’s no reason why we can’t be leading at the end. That has to be our goal.”
The three Australians contributed just half a point in the alternate shot format.
Leishman and playing partner Jason Day led opponents Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner by one hole late in the match before an errant Leishman tee shot saw them lose the 17th.
They appeared likely to lose the 18th hole and therefore the match but Mickelson missed a short putt to gift the Australian duo half a point.
“We just need to think about what that half a point could mean at the end of the week; how much we would have paid for that extra point in Korea,” said Leishman, referring to the Internationals’ one-point loss in 2015.
“One match here and there, and that could make a difference.”
Fellow Australian Adam Scott and partner Jhonattan Vegas also led at the halfway point of their clash with world No.1 Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar but several errors on the back nine handed the Americans a one-up victory.
“We’re not that far behind,” said world No.6 Day.
“We’ve got to regroup. The American side is obviously stacked but I think our team is ready to rally.”
The Internationals’ top-ranked player Hideki Matsuyama and playing partner Charl Schwartzel were smashed 6-and-4 by Rickie Fowler and FedEx Cup champion Justin Thomas.
Internationals rookies Si Woo Kim and Emiliano Grillo were spanked 5-and-4 by dream pairing Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
Standouts for the Internationals were South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, who were clinical in their 3-and-1 win against US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.
“Louis and I stuck to the guns. We made the clutch things when we had to,” said Grace.
“Hopefully we inspire a little bit of the team.”