Presidents Cup: Americans hold onto early lead after Internationals fight back in Thursday’s foursome

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CHARLOTTE, NC – The 2022 Presidents Cup kicked off with an all-star matchup that had fans buzzing but quickly spiraling out of control.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele rolled in their opener, 6 and 5, against international veterans Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama, setting the first point on the board for the Americans to set the tone and foreshadow things to come: a leaderboard full of red.

The Americans were in charge for most of the day before a brief international rebound in the back nine that saw the American advantage drop to 1 to 12 holes at most in each of the last four games. The Reds, Whites, and Blues held their ground in all but one of their last games and will take an impressive 4-1 lead in Friday afternoon’s four-ball session.

Here’s a rundown of every match on Day 1 of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

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Cantlay-Schauffele (US) defeats. Matsuyama-Scott (Intl.), 6 and 5

The caps were lifted early in the first game when Team USA’s Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele crushed Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott, 6 and 5. It was the second-earliest finish for an American victory in Presidents Cup history.

The dynamic duo for the USA improved to a perfect 3-0 in foursomes in the Presidents Cup to put the first point on the board. Cantlay-Schauffele took the lead with a par in the third. It took the US side five holes to birdie, but once the seal was broken, the US threw it at it with three birdies in a row to open a 4-up lead. The Internationals won their only hole of the day in the short par-4 eighth when Schauffele birdie putt to cut the hole in half.

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The international team had a chance to close the gap when Matsuyama set his 6 foot tee shot at number 10, but Scott missed the putt. That took the wind out of the sails of the international side as they bogeyed on the last three holes.

“You always expect your opponent to come back strong. We were lucky there at 10. That could have been a big one that they missed, and we used that as momentum to close out this match,” Cantlay said. — Schupak.

Spieth-Thomas (US) beats. Im-Conners (Intl.), 2 and 1

Like the first game, Americans Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas matched the efforts of their international counterparts, Sungjae Im and Corey Conners, on the first two holes before pulling away. Spieth-Thomas won three of the next four holes – two by just making par – to open a 3-up lead before dropping two of the next three holes to take just a 1-up lead around the bend .

The game tightened up at Nos. 10-14, as each team failed to capitalize on the other’s mistakes. Two of the five equal holes were bogeyed, the other three were even. In normal JT fashion, he grabbed in true Captain America form with a par putt to win 15th and extend the lead with three more holes to play. A pair of birdies on numbers 16 and 17 sealed the deal for the US 2-and-1 victory, bringing the second point to the board. — Woodard

Young-Morikawa (USA) defeats. Kim-Lee (International) 2 and 1

With Dustin Johnson moving to LIV Golf, Collin Morikawa needed a new partner. Enter Cameron Young, who can drive it just as well as Johnson.

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“We joked, I hit pretty much every iron shot and he hit the driver and putter,” Morikawa said. “It’s a great combo when he fucks it in the middle of the fairway and I have 8 iron in par-5s.”

Their opponents – South Koreans Tom Kim and KH Lee – took the early lead with a par on the second hole, but it proved to be the only lead the international team would enjoy all day. The Americans made the first of six birdies on the day one hole later to clear the deficit, winning No. 6 with a birdie and No. 9 with a par to build a 2-up lead on the turn.

Kim and Lee rallied and won 11th thanks to a bogey from the Americans and the 12e with his own birdie. Lee clenched his fist as he cleared the 11-foot putt to tie the match.

But Morikawa showed why he is considered the best iron player in the game by holding his approach from 144 meters to within 3 feet. Young had the honor of closing the game by breaking into a 26-foot birdie putt to take the 2-and-1 win.

“Yeah, that was cool,” Young said. “I actually knew it in the back of my mind. I definitely didn’t mean to hit that hard, but I’m glad it ended where it did.”— Schupak.

Kim-Davis (Intl.) defeats. Scheffler-Burns (US), 2 pieces

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Americans got to the game with ease before losing the lead and leaking oil along the track. American rookies Scheffler and Burns birdied three of their first seven holes on the first nine and rounded the corner with a two-headed lead.

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The Internationals kept it close for a clutch birdie on the par-5 12th (just their second of the day) to narrow their deficit to one before Scheffler could cash out a 14-footer birdie on the next hole. The Americans left the door ajar with a double-bogey six at number 15 and the Internationals stormed in as a SWAT team with consecutive birdies at numbers 16 and 17 to turn the game around. A bad run from Burns on 18 found the trees and pine straw to the left of the fairway, and Scheffler’s approach hit the trees and kicked into the short grass, forcing the Internationals to par and turn the game around to win, 2 up. — Woodard

Finau-Homa (USA) defeats. Pendrith-Pereira (Intl.), 1 up

The last game of the day certainly did not disappoint, as the score never went higher than 2 for the Americans. Each team won three holes as the Internationals came back with birdies on the par-4 8th and 13th to tie the Americans with five left to play. Thursday’s final remained tied and was one of only two sides to reach the 18th green.

Pereira’s drive found the left side rough and from there Pendrith smashed into the greenside bunker to the right of the dance floor. Homa found the fairway and from 183 yards, Finau hit to 27 feet to set up the two-putt par for the win, 1 up. — Woodard

2022 Presidents Cup

2022 Presidents Cup

Team USA golfer Tony Finau (left) and golfer Max Homa (right) smile on the first tee during foursomes match play of the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club. (Photo: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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