S. Korean Bae Sang-moon to make Presidents Cup debut Friday

October 8, 2015
Bae Sang-moon (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Bae Sang-moon (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

INCHEON (Yonhap) — Bae Sang-moon, the only South Korean player at the Presidents Cup this week, will make his debut at the match play competition Friday in the four-ball session.

Bae was paired with Danny Lee of New Zealand for the International Team in the draw held Thursday at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea here in Incheon, west of Seoul. They will tee off against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker of the United States.

Bae said he is close friends with Lee, a Seoul native who now represents New Zealand, and had said he wanted to play with Lee at some point this week.

They will be the second team to tee off at 9:50 a.m.

Fowler and Walker played in the foursome together and defeated Thongchai Jaidee and Anirban Lahiri 5 & 4. Lee teamed up with Marc Leishman in Thursday’s foursome match, and lost 4 & 3 to Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.

Bae sat out the foursome session Thursday, a victim of a numbers game with the number of matches on Day 1 having been reduced from six to five for this year.

Bae had a good practice round with Charl Schwartzel on Wednesday, but the South African got sick and was forced to miss Thursday’s action.

International Team captain Nick Price decided to bench Bae, too, saying he didn’t want to split other pairings that had practiced well together earlier in the week.

Other matchups on Friday will be: Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace for the International Team against Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth (9:35 a.m.); Adam Scott and Jason Day for the Internationals versus Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson (10:05 a.m.); Marc Leishman and Steven Bowditch for the International Team against J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson (10:20 a.m.); and Charl Schwartzel and Thongchai Jaidee for the Internationals against Bill Haas and Chris Kirk (10:35 a.m.).

The United States Team opened a commanding 4-1 lead after foursomes on Thursday. The Americans have won the past five Presidents Cups and eight of 10 overall, with a tie in 2003.

Bill Haas, son of captain Jay Haas, and Kirk both sat out Thursday’s sessions. The other four U.S. tandems remained intact from Thursday’s play, with Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed, the only pair to lose Thursday, benched.

For the International Team, Schwartzel, who Price has recovered his illness, will take the field for the first time, while Anirban Lahiri and Hideki Matsuyama sitting out Friday.

With the International Team in an early hole, Price said he feels the Friday pairings can turn things around.

“I think we’ve got some good pairings there,” he said. “And to be honest, I think this team is going to bounce back a lot quicker than maybe any of the other teams we’ve had. I’m certainly not despondent about the whole thing. We are not in the situation we’d like to be after the first round, but there’s an awful lot of golf to play.”

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