Americans race to dominant 4-1 lead after Day 1 at Presidents Cup
The U.S. team won four of five foursomes matches at Quail Hollow Club on Thursday to take a 4-1 lead over the Internationals on Day 1 of the Presidents Cup.
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele set the tone for the opening session with a convincing 6 and 5 victory over the International team's most experienced Presidents Cup players in Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama.
Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis formed the unlikely duo to come up big for the International team, grabbing its lone Day 1 point in a match against world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and partner Sam Burns.
Match 1: Cantlay/Schauffele 6 and 5 over Scott/Matsuyama
The veteran duo of Scott and Matsuyama failed to set the tone for the International team the way Trevor Immelman probably hoped for when he chose the pair to go out first Wednesday.
Instead, it was Cantlay and Schauffele who came out of the gates hot for the U.S. team, making four birdies in their front nine holes. The duo went bogey-free and never trailed throughout the match. In fact, the Internationals only won one hole, and it was too little too late as it took them from 4 down to 3 down.
Scott and Matsuyama then made bogey on the par-4 13th, giving Schauffele a chance to close it out early. The world No. 5 drained his 8-foot par putt to seal the win 6 and 5 for the Americans, grabbing the team's first point well before the end of the day.
Match 2: Spieth/Thomas 2 and 1 over Im/Conners
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas didn't necessarily bring their best Thursday, but it was still more than enough to secure another point for the Americans.
Like their teammates in the group ahead of them, Spieth and Thomas grabbed the lead by the third hole and kept it. They quickly moved to 3 up on Sungjae Im and Corey Conners, but the Internationals reigned it back to within one. They couldn't get the extra point to force a tie, though, and Thomas drained a 26-foot putt to move the Americans to 2 up with just three holes left.
Both teams went on to par the next two holes before the International pair ran out of time to even the match, losing 2 and 1 as Spieth and Thomas earned the Americans their second point.
Match 3: Young/Morikawa 2 and 1 over Kim/Lee
The match that pitted Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa against Tom Kim and K.H. Lee was the first that appeared to favor the Internationals, as they quickly went 1 up at No. 2. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Americans overtook the Internationals by the sixth hole.
Young and Morikawa - who didn't have a win between them in the 2021-22 TOUR season - didn't hold the lead throughout the entirety of this match, but they held their ground for most of it. As they arrived at the 17th green 1 up on Presidents Cup rookies Kim and Lee, fellow rookie Young made a 25-foot putt to clinch a third point for the U.S.
Match 4: Kim/Davis 2 up over Scheffler/Burns
Kim and Presidents Cup rookie Davis came through for the Internationals, securing the team's lone point Thursday with a 2-up upset over Scheffler and Burns.
The International pair spent most of the match losing to Scheffler and Burns, who had a combined seven wins in the 2021-22 TOUR season.
But Kim and Davis took charge in the latter half of the back nine, making two pars and two birdies for four straight points against the Americans en route to a point for the International team.
Match 5: Finau/Homa 1 up over Pendrith/Pereira
The last match proved to be the most unpredictable of all, with the American pair of Tony Finau and Max Homa pulling out a point at the last hole to win the match.
The statistics favored the Americans. They have a combined nine TOUR wins, while the International pairing of Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira has none.
Despite the seemingly lopsided matchup, Pendrith and Pereira rallied back from 2 down by the 13th hole. But a costly bogey on the 18th gave the Americans their fourth full point of the day.