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US stay in charge

other Updated: Nov 18, 2011 23:28 IST

The United States maintained their grip on the Presidents Cup on Friday, holding off a late charge by the Internationals to share the points 3-3 in the opening four-ball matches as the Royal Melbourne course bared its teeth amid searing northerly winds.

As the temperature rose and swirling gusts buffeted the famed sandbelt course, players on both sides were dumbstruck by the pace of the flint-hard greens but the US made enough of their chances to hold a 7-5 lead going into the weekend's play.

Phil Mickelson, who teamed up with Jim Furyk again to down Australia's Adam Scott and Kim Kyung-tae 2&1 for the pair's second win, described the conditions as "crazy".

"This was a case where we're trying to read the wind on the putts," the four-times major champion said in a greenside interview. "I hit a couple of good putts that didn't go in and it kind of affected my confidence."

After stumbling with a late bout of nerves in Thursday's opening foursomes, the Internationals showed huge grit to grind out three tense victories to square the day's ledger at the end.

Aaron Baddeley gained a measure of redemption following his meltdown at the 18th tee on Thursday, calmly sinking the winning putt on the last after carrying his wayward playing partner Jason Day to a one-up victory over Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.

"Yesterday was very disappointing, even though we still got a half," the Australian Baddeley said.

"But it was great to bounce back today and like Jason said, we are a team and I feel like we feed well off each other and we get on great out there."