With no Love losses, U.S. stays in command PRESIDENTS CUP NOTEBOOK


LAKE MANASSAS, Va. -- Davis Love III came into the inaugural Presidents Cup with a positive attitude. He had been playing better the past few weeks, coming in off a last-round 68 and a tie for 31st at last week's Bell Canadian Open.

After four trips over the 7,238-yard course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, Love had the best record with three wins and a half, as the United States assumed a 12-8 lead over the International squad. Teammate Fred Couples (2-0) was the only other player on either side without a loss.

Love had his easiest workout yesterday afternoon, as he and Jim Gallagher Jr. beat the hardest part of a late afternoon rainstorm with a 7-and-5 foursomes conquest of Frank Nobilo and Robert Allenby. It was the most lopsided score of the first four sessions.

"I'm glad Jim played hard and we could get through after 13 holes," Love said. "I went all 18 holes in my first three matches, and there must be something out there I'm allergic to. I've been on the verge of being sick."

The Love-Gallagher team left few openings for their afternoon opponents, birdieing the first two holes, turning at 4-up and winning three of the first four holes.

Both sides, meanwhile, are delighted with a chance to sleep in this morning, as the 12 singles matches will not start until 12:20 p.m.

"I think both teams are really tired," Love said. "It's awfully hard to go 18 four times. That intensity level wears you out. It'll be nice not to hear that alarm at 5 a.m."

Stretch run

Corey Pavin backed by Ryder Cup experience, and Loren Roberts, a newcomer to professional match play, staged the best rally of the day, making up a three-hole deficit in the final six holes, closing birdie-birdie to overtake Craig Parry and Fulton Allem, 1-up.

At 15, Pavin holed a 40-foot bunker shot for birdie, and at 18, hit a 168-yard 6-iron second shot that stopped four feet from the cup. Roberts never had to attempt the putt, as their opponents made a five.

"After 12, I was really tired, but we got a break on 13 when they made bogey, and suddenly I felt better," Pavin said. "It's amazing what winning holes does for your energy level."

In the morning, Pavin and Phil Mickelson were 1-down to Nick Price and Steve Elkington going to No. 18. Then both Americans hit solid shots to the green and Mickelson made his putt to square the match, and each side collected half a point.

Fleeting fame

Jay Haas, one of the heroes as the U.S. team built a 7 1/2 -2 1/2 first-day lead, ran into a buzz saw yesterday. In the morning, he and Scott Hoch made a birdie apiece, won two holes, and lost, 3 and 1, to Tsukasa Watanabe and Vijay Singh. Leading off the afternoon, Haas and U.S. team leader Hale Irwin were whipped by David Frost and Peter Senior, 6 and 5.

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