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'I love me some me' - Thomas channels NFL's Owens at Presidents Cup

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Melbourne (AFP)

Justin Thomas channelled former American football star Terrell Owens in his celebration with Tiger Woods after nailing a crucial putt on the 18th to keep the United States alive at the Presidents Cup Friday.

With the Americans struggling for points in the foursome -- or alternate shot -- round, the world number four drained a long and difficult putt to claim a 1-up victory over Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and South Korean An Byeong-hun.

His fist-pumping playing-partner Woods rushed towards him for an embrace and they exchanged words, with Thomas saying he was inspired by a viral video of NFL hall-of-famer Owens.

"There's a video of Terrell Owens and he yells 'I love me some me'," said Thomas.

"I showed it to the guys this morning. They had not seen it. It's a really funny video.

"I said, 'If I make a big putt today, I'm yelling it.' Today that was a pretty big putt so I thought it was the appropriate time to yell it."

The putt helped keep the United States in the hunt against Ernie Els' Internationals, who go into day three on Saturday with a 6.5-3.5 lead in the biennial matchplay event.

Woods admitted it was a sweet moment and one he would not forget.

"He should have been afraid of me too because we were both were screaming," he joked. "It was a phenomenal moment, and it was priceless. So I'm glad we were able to experience it together."

Patrick Cantlay also drilled a huge putt on the 18th to claim a point for his team against Canada's Adam Hadwin and Chilean Joaquin Niemann.

The world number seven said he lived for such moments.

"There's no place I'd rather be than on the 18th green with a putt to win," said Cantlay.

"There's nothing like the focus that it brings out and the attention to the moment that it brings out, and that's exactly why I play the game and I think that's why we all play.

"Making those putts on 18 were so big for the momentum shift. Being able to flip the whole deal, we're going to go to bed tonight feeling great and we're going to have the momentum going into tomorrow."

Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler also tied their hole for an important half-point.

Thomas admitted it was a huge day for the Americans, but said they must get over it quickly and focus on Saturday, where eight points are at stake in four fourball matches followed by four more foursomes.

Twelve singles are then played on Sunday.

"Sitting here and looking up at the scoreboard, I think all of us, Rick and Gary bringing their match back, Patrick making their putt on 18, myself making the putt on 18, we had some great finishes," he said.

"But at the end of the day we need to get over that. We're still three (points) down."

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