The United States took an iron grip on the Presidents Cup after winning the opening day’s foursomes 4-1.
Much of the talk before the event centred on how the Internationals had been weakened by defections to LIV Golf.
Those concerns appear well founded, as Trevor Immelman’s men were blown away at Quail Hollow on Thursday.
Immelman elected to send his established stars Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama out in the opening match, but they were blown away by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
Scott found a bunker with his tee shot on the opening hole and although they scrambled a half, it set the tone for the match.
The Schauffele and Cantlay families spend a lot of time together off the course, and they have an excellent understanding.
Day 1 Foursomes – USA 4-1 Internationals
- Patrick Cantlay / Xander Schauffele 6&5 Adam Scott / Hideki Matsuyama
- Jordan Spieth / Justin Thomas 2&1 Sungjae Im / Corey Connors
- Cameron Young / Collin Morikawa 2&1 Tom Kim / KH Lee
- Scottie Scheffler / Sam Burns 2up Si Woo Kim / Cam Davis
- Tony Finau / Max Homa 1up Taylor Pendrith / Mito Pereira
With the Internationals making mistakes and not rolling in putts, Cantlay and Schauffele ran into a four-hole lead after seven holes.
It took the Internationals until the eighth hole to register a birdie, which proved enough to cut the gap in the top match to three holes.
Scott had the chance to put some doubt in the minds of Cantlay and Schauffele but he missed a short putt for a win on the 10th.
The look of anguish on Scott’s face told a story, and things got worse on the following hole as he hooked his tee shot into the water – which hammered the final nail into the coffin in the top match which went Cantlay and Schauffele’s way 6&5.
“We definitely love these events and love playing with each other,” Cantlay said. “We played a lot of alternate shots with each other.
“We just feel comfortable and confident and on a day like today to make no bogeys is really good golf.”
Red dominated the scoreboard, with USA up in all five matches for lengthy spells of the day.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas delivered a second point for Davis Love III’s side, but were pushed hard by Corey Connors and Sungjae Im.
After racing into a three-hole lead after six holes, the Americans were pegged back.
The turning point arrived on the 15th, as the Internationals looked certain to win the hole and draw level in the match only for Thomas to hole a long putt from the front of the green and as is so often the case in match play, Connors missed his putt for a half.
Spieth and Thomas closed out the victory on the 17th, and it was a similar scoreline that Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa took out Tom Kim and KH Lee.
The red juggernaut was halted in the fourth match, as Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis battled back from three down at one stage to take out world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns.
“We had a brutal first nine and were kind of nervous, we don’t play much of this format, so it was hard to figure out,” Kim said. “It was great at the end.”
The concluding match was an arm-wrestle, and it went the way of USA pair Max Homa and Tony Finau after Mito Pereira and Taylor Pendrith bogeyed the last.
Pereira threw away the US PGA Championship on the final hole, finding water off the tee, and his tee shot was poor on the 18th.
Pendrith did well to find the greenside bunker with the second, but Pereira’s shot from the sand came up 10 feet short and his partner could not make the par putt as USA took control in their bid for a ninth Presidents Cup win in a row.
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