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#WinnerStaysOn 2019-2020: The Presidents Cup

Previously? The first 12 tournaments of the season

The idea of #WinnerStaysOn is relatively simple. Each time the champion plays a round of competitive golf on the PGA or European Tour he defends his title against his playing partners.

Lowest score wins.

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Presidents Cup

Champion: Hideki Matsuyama, three rounds

Having won the title in the second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions, Hideki Matsuyama showed up to the Presidents Cup as an important member of the Internationals team – and with the #WinnerStaysOn crown to defend.

Day 1 – Fourball: Hideki Matsuyama (c) and CT Pan – 1UP | Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson

The International team got off to a flying start and won holes 3 and 4 for an early lead. They were pegged back before Pan converted on the 9th to restore the 2UP advantage at the turn.

Reed and Simpson started moving on the back nine and produced birdies on 11, 12, 15 and 16 to mount some pressure on the International team – and square the match with two holes to play.

That was until Hideki produced a fine birdie on 17 to stop their momentum, and force the USA to push for a win on the final hole.

They couldn’t manage it – and the International team scored the W.

Day 2 – Foursome: Hideki Matsuyama (c) and Byeong Hun An | Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas – 1UP

Whereas day one had started with Matsuyama racing into an early lead, it was Woods and Thomas that started the brighter in the Foursomes. They were 2UP after 4 before Matsuyama and An got going.

They pulled the USA team back by the 8th – and then a series of birdies saw the match tighten down the stretch.

Holes 14, 15, 16 and 17 were halved before Justin Thomas rolled in a birdie putt on the last to give USA the win, and an important point in the overall match.

Day 3 – Fourball: Justin Thomas (c) and Rickie Fowler – 3&2 | Marc Leishman and Haotang Li

Haotang Li showed up to the Presidents Cup with his physio on his bag, played out of turn on the second hole and was ultimately not helpful to Marc Leishman in the morning session of Day Three.

JT continued to roll through the week – this time with Rickie as his partner – and to retain his #WinnerStaysOn title.

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Day 3 – Foursome: Justin Thomas (c) and Rickie Fowler – TIED | Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer – TIED

Another match with a hot start. 5UP through 7 – the JT train seemed unstoppable. Especially when that margin had stayed at 5 after 10.

Then the international team clicked into gear and clawed the match back. Leishman and Ancer won 11, 12, 16, 17 and finally 18 to halve the match and send the International team into the final day with the lead.

It will have felt like a loss to Thomas and Fowler who many expected to close out the match with holes to spare.

Day 4 – Singles: Justin Thomas (c) | Cameron Smith – 2&1

10th match out in the singles and with Thomas 3UP after 4, it looked like being a long day for Cameron Smith as he stood on the 5th tee.

However the Australian refused to be defeated – even if the rest of his team were preparing to give up their two point advantage. He won holes 6 and 9 to reduce the gap and then capitalised when JT bogeyed 10 and 12 to flip the match.

Cameron did what he could to keep the hopes of the International team alive. A birdie on 17 wrapped up a 2&1 win, but it came with the USA already on 15 points overall – and set to retain the Cup.

Champion: Cameron Smith

Up next? One more tournament before 2019 ends…

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