Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns defeated by Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis in the only match won by the international team on the opening day; Team USA chasing ninth straight Presidents Cup victory – watch live all week on Sky Sports Golf
Last update: 22/09/22 23:51
Team USA lived up to their pre-tournament reputation as Presidents Cup favorites by taking a 4-1 lead against Team International after the opener in Carolina North.
The United States has dominated the biennial competition, winning the past eight editions and losing just one of the previous 13 contests, with the Davis Love III team quickly taking control of this year’s event in the foursomes from Thursday to Quail Hollow Club.
A star-studded American line-up won the first three games on the course against a depleted international squad containing eight rookies and lacking in experience due to several high-profile departures to LIV Golf, with the hosts briefly threatening to complete a full sweep of the session.
If Woo Kim and Cam Davis produced a remarkable fightback to stun world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, although it was the only point gained for the international team after Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira suffered a loss at the last hole in the remaining match on the course.
“We had games where we rolled and the guys played really well and some where we fought well,” said USA captain Davis Love III. “A good start, a lot of heart, but they will train and prepare for the next session tomorrow.”
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How Team USA moved forward
Trevor Immelman’s decision to send experienced pair Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama – the only two international squad players with multiple Presidents Cup appearances – in the opening game backfired, as they were beaten 6&5 by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
The American pair never trailed and lost just one hole in an impressive win, winning the first four holes of their last nine to continue their 100% foursomes record when playing together for the American team.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth birdied three times in a four-hole streak on their front nine, only for Sungjae Im – the international team’s leading scorer in their 2019 loss, to make a 10-foot eagle in the seventh and a birdie on the ninth to cut the lead for him and Corey Conners to one at the turn.
The momentum of that match swung Team USA’s way when Thomas hit a 25-foot putt to save the par on the 15th, which was enough to win the hole when Conners missed by eight feet, with pars on the next two holes sufficient for a 2&1 victory.
Cameron Young marked his Presidents Cup debut by drilling 25ft on the penultimate hole for a game-winning birdie to give him and Collin Morikawa a 2&1 win over Tom Kim and KH Lee in Game 3 , this point guaranteeing that the American team would lead after the opening day.
Scheffler and Burns looked set for more success after advancing three times after just seven holes and staying two ahead with four to play, only for a three-putt double bogey at the par-four 15th setting the stage for a late recovery from the international team. .
Davis nudged for a par winner and Kim tied the contest with a 10-foot birdie on the next, with a close-range birdie on the 17th and a par kickoff on the last, completing a streak of four straight wins and 2up victory for the visitors.
The final match also went to the par-four last, where a two-putt par from Tony Finau and Max Homa was enough for a narrow win when Pereira hit a wayward final drive and then Pendrith failed to save the par. 10 feet.
“We hung on,” Immelman said. “We got off to a really tough start and were behind the eight ball early. The Americans played brilliant golf and I think we’re going to have to find a way to make some putts over the next few days. We’re going to hang in there and keep fighting – that’s what we do.”
Five four-ball matches will take place on Friday, with four more matches in both formats being played over two sessions on Saturday. The 24 players then face off in singles matches on the final day, with a total of 30 points up for grabs over the four days of the tournament.
Watch the Presidents Cup all week long live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins Friday from 4.30pm via the Red Button, before moving to Sky Sports Golf at 5.30pm.