Ancer just the answer for Internationals at Presidents Cup

Sports

International team player Abraham Ancer of Mexico, left, and playing partner Marc Leishman of Australia, right, survey the 16th green in their foursomes match during the President’s Cup golf tournament at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — With two points in two matches, the first Mexican player at the Presidents Cup is impressing a lot of his peers on the International team.

Abraham Ancer, with just one professional victory — last year’s Australian Open — won his foursomes match on Friday with Marc Leishman, a 3-and-2 victory over Americans Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed. On Thursday, Louis Oosthuizen was Ancer’s partner when they beat Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland 4 and 3.

“My man just made everything,” Oosthuizen said of Ancer. “He hit it good. He hit fairways, greens, and it’s all on him today. It was unreal.”

The South African was being overly generous — Oosthuizen birdied three of the first five holes as he and Ancer took a 4-up lead. But Ancer’s birdie on the 13th helped shut down the Americans.

Leishman and Ancer had played a few practice games together but he only saw Ancer for the first time last year at the Australian Open.

“It’s fun playing with Abe,” Leishman said. “He’s such a good putter and loves being in the heat of the battle. He’s a competitor and that’s what you need to be in this.”

The 28-year-old Ancer said he’s trying to play “simple golf.”

“I feel like I hit a lot of fairways … the putter has been working nicely, so that’s been helping a lot and making some good putts that count a lot and keep the momentum going,” Ancer said. “That’s been key this week.”

Ancer said he and Leishman combined well in the alternate shot foursomes on Friday.

“We kept the ball in play and hit a lot of greens, and whenever we didn’t hit greens, we hit it in the right spots to get up-and-down from, so that was key today,” Ancer said.

Ancer will try to make it three wins in a row when he combines with Sungjae Im in a Saturday morning foursomes match against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, hoping to increase the International side’s 6 1/2 to 3 1/2 points lead over the Americans after two days.

The way he’s been playing, there’s a good chance International captain Ernie Els will send out Ancer again in the afternoon fourballs with a partner to be determined.

Whoever that is, Leishman figures Ancer will not let them down.

“From the outside people probably don’t expect him to win,” Leishman said. “That’s maybe an asset in something like this. You’ve got to love the spotlight and he certainly does.”

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