CHARLOTTE, NC — The unmissable par putt slid to the cup, and the American crowd sparked the same cheer that rang in the ears of Trevor Immelman and Adam Scott and all international fans for the past two decades. of this Presidents Cup.
“USA! USA! USA!”
They may also have sung a different tune: “Here we go again.”
With another dominating performance in foursomes, the Americans took a 4-1 lead at Quail Hollow, which already feels like history is repeating itself.
It’s the seventh time in the last eight cups that the Americans have won the opening session. The only one they didn’t was three years ago at Royal Melbourne when the Internationals led everywhere at home but were overtaken on the final day by a Tiger Woods-inspired rally. The problem is that Cameron Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Niemann don’t step in to help them this time.
Full score of the Presidents Cup match
The Americans capitalized on the format that has historically confused their opponents, trailing for all but three holes – in total – as they took a commanding lead.
Of the 23 foursome sessions in Presidents Cup history, the United States has won 18.
“There’s a real benefit to trying to get red on the board as early as possible,” said Patrick Cantlay. “I think it puts everyone a little more at ease and encourages them to follow suit.”
USA captain Davis Love III dispatched Cantlay and Xander Schauffele first, trying to match the strength of the Internationals’ most seasoned partnership of Scott and Hideki Matsuyama. Right behind them were Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas – another tried and trusted couple for Americans.
Cantlay typed a text to the other three players on the eve of the opening session: “Let’s try to set the tone.
And in the opener, the American duo secured four straight first-nine wins and improved to 5-0 in the alternating shot format. Their 6&5 win was the most lopsided foursome result at this event since 2011. With the tone set, Spieth and Thomas led from the third hole en route to a 2&1 win.
Just as Cantlay requested, two first points were on the board.
“We know each other’s games. We know how to feed each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to stay away from each other,” Thomas said of Spieth, who went undefeated (6-0) in foursomes in this event. “We did what we had to do – and that’s a point for our team.”
At one point on Thursday, the Americans held the lead in every game on the back nine, seemingly ready to sweep the session and raise fears of another rout.
“He looked red all day,” Love said, “but someone came on the radio and said, ‘Yeah, but we’re 1 in three games, and those can turn around really quickly. “”
Indeed, the day got much tenser when a windy cold front passed through at the end of the afternoon.
Longtime rookie Cameron Young threw a 25-footer for a birdie on the 17th green to secure another point for the Americans, a 2-on-1 victory with Collin Morikawa’s precision shot. Another debutant, Max Homa, who took advantage of Tony Finau’s massive drives and scored a 1-up win when Taylor Pendrith’s go-to 10-footer missed the right one.
“I’m proud of all of them, but especially these two guys,” Love said of Young and Homa. “Scoring a point today was great.”
The only disappointment for the Americans was the arrival of Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, best friends who scored seven Tour victories last season and have now been paired for the first time in team competition. Three out of seven holes, they won just one hole the rest of the day, falling to the international side of Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis when Davis introduced an approach on 17 and then Burns hit it wildly off the tee on the home hole. It saved the Internationals at least one point in the opening session, but their task is decidedly made more difficult this year: they are on the road, with eight rookies, against one of the strongest American teams. never reunited.
“We will continue to fight. That’s what we do,” Immelman said. “That’s the kind of mentality this team has. We will regroup.
They’d better, because American fans ringing the 18th green were already warning them of what was to come as they headed to their squad room.
“It’s going to be a looooong weekend!” one shouted. “A long weekend!”
Maybe not. With more sessions like this, it could end quickly.