South Korea's Kim Kyung-tae drained a clutch putt on the 18th hole to beat Tiger Woods in their four-ball match and give the Internationals a glimmer of hope with the Americans closing in on a seventh Presidents Cup victory on Saturday.
Partnered with YE Yang, Kim's six-foot knee-trembler in front of a massive gallery at Royal Melbourne sealed a 1-up victory over Woods and Dustin Johnson as the Internationals edged the United States 3-2 in the four-ball matches.
Having dominated the morning foursomes 4-1 on a wet and windy day, the U.S. carry a 13-9 point lead into Sunday and need only five wins from the 12 singles matches to clinch their fourth straight trophy at the venue of their sole loss in 1998.
"We will get the old guys, as we did get a couple of guys on the team bus to tell them, this isn't far from over, and you need to go out and everyone needs to win a point," U.S. captain Fred Couples told reporters.
"That's kind of the game plan ... Once they tee off on number one, they are pretty much on their own."
Kim and Yang's personal triumph marked a banner day for South Korea as KJ Choi partnered with Australia's Geoff Ogilvy to defeat Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar 1-up.
But the Internationals' traditional weakness in the alternate shot format may ultimately prove decisive as the disparate band of nations once again failed to gel.
Having lost 4-2 in Thursday's foursomes, they finished 8-3 for the tournament in the format, which the U.S. play on alternate years in the Ryder Cup.
"It's a hell of a tough task. I've seen so many captains come and go, and you know, we still haven't got the formula right," said South Africa's Ernie Els.
Retief Goosen and fellow South African Charl Schwartzel ended the dream run of Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson in the first four-ball match but the Americans hit back through Billy Haas and Hunter Mahan.
Mahan rolled in a 22-foot putt on the par-four 17th to seal a 2&1 win over Australians Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day and celebrated a win in an atmosphere he likened to the Ryder Cup.