GAINESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Two years later and halfway across the world, the Presidents Cup is as close as ever.

Chris DiMarco came up aces, Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk came through with clutch comebacks and Retief Goosen and Adam Scott proved as formidable as ever Saturday, all of them turning in solid performances that left the matches tied going into a final round of 12 singles matches.

Each team had 11 points, the first time the Presidents Cup has been tied going into Sunday since it began in 1994.

The Americans had a chance to take the outright lead in the final better-ball match of the afternoon. Fred Couples, who has provided some of the most dramatic images from Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, hit a wedge into 8 feet on the 18th hole and was poised to score a 1-up victory.

But his putt stayed above the cup as he and Davis Love III had to settle for a halve with Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera.

No one had to work harder than Woods and Furyk, who birdied the last two holes in alternate shot Saturday morning to earn a halve against Vijay Singh and Stuart Appleby, then went the distance against them in the afternoon. It was just as tight, just as tense as Furyk carried the load and kept the Americans in the match.

Woods finally delivered, making an 18-foot birdie on the 16th hole that barely caught the left edge of the cup for a 1-up lead. Appleby hit a wedge into 10 feet on the last hole, but missed the putt.

The star was DiMarco, who has only three PGA Tour victories in his 10-year career, but plays like a major champion in these team events.

He made only the second hole-in-one in the Presidents Cup in the morning, holed just about every putt that mattered and joined Mickelson in two victories the Americans needed.

DiMarco and Mickelson were so dominant that neither of their matches Saturday reached the 16th hole.

The International side got more strong play from Scott and Goosen, who battled Scott Verplank and Justin Leonard to a draw in the morning, and buried them in a better-ball match with 10 birdies in 14 holes.

As close as these matches have been, the Americans might have history on their side. They have never lost at RTJ, and they have never lost a singles session in five previous President Cup matches.

AP-ES-09-24-05 1833EDT


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