Team USA opened a 4-1 lead over the International team on day one of the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.
The US have won the past eight renewals of Ryder Cup-style team match event against a team comprised of players from the rest of the world outside Europe.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” said International captain Trevor Immelman, whose team has been heavily depleted by the absence of players that have joined the LIV Golf Series who are banned from playing in the matches. “Nobody here expects us to win. We’re up against maybe the strongest American team ever assembled on paper. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ll keep going until they ring the bell.”
Immelman put two of his more experienced players out first in the alternate shot foursomes, but Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama were thrashed 6&5 by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in a match that set the tone for the day.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were 2&1 winners over South Korea’s Sungjae Im and Canada’s Corey Conners, while Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa won by the same margin over South Korean pair Tom Kim and KH Lee.
A fourth point looked secure with world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 2up after 14 holes against Si Woo Kim of South Korea and Australia’s Cameron Davis However, Kim and Davis won the final four holes to win 2up.
In the final match, Tony Finau and Max Homa parred the 18th to narrowly defeat Mito Pereira of Chile and Taylor Pendrith of Canada 1up.
“We had some matches where we were rolling and the guys played great, and then some matches like this one with Tony and Max that they ground it out,” said US captain Davis Love III. “It’s a good start, but there is still a long way to go.”
Friday’s format will switch to five fourballs matches, with four fourball and four foursomes matches to follow on Saturday and 12 singles matches on Sunday. A total of 15½ points are needed to win the trophy.
For the latest scores, visit www.presidentscup.com/leaderboard
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