U.S. Grabs 4-1 Lead Over Internationals After Day One at 14th Presidents Cup

The heavily favored United States team almost pitched a shutout in foursome matches on the first day of the 14th Presidents Cup.

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA teamed with fifth-ranked Xander Schauffele of Torrey Pines and San Diego State to rout International team veterans Adam Scott of Australia and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, 6 and 5, in the first match of the opening day and the Americans went on to claim q 4-1 lead at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C.

“We had some matches where we were rolling and the guys played great, and then some matches where we ground it out,” U.S. Captain Davis Love III said on the Golf Channel broadcast. “ … Somebody came on the radio and said, ‘Yeah, but we’re 1 up in three matches and those can flip really quick,’ but our guys just kept on going.”

Schauffele (pictured, left) and Cantlay (right), who are a 4-0-0 in the Presidents and Ryder Cup foursomes and teamed up to capture the Zurich Classic of New Orleans earlier this year, made four birdies and not a single bogey, while Matsuyama and Scott won just one hole—No. 7—when they were already 4 down.

When Cantlay and Schauffele won three straight holes through No. 13, it was over.

“Let’s try to set the tone,” Cantlay wrote in a text to teammates Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas on Wednesday night.

And that’s exactly what happened.

“That’s what Pat and I talked about yesterday, and that’s what we tried to do today,” said Schauffele, the 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist.

Said Cantlay: “We’ve played a lot of alternate shot with each other, and I think we just feel very comfortable and confident. On a day like today, to make no bogeys, that was really good golf. I was alternate shot, but it just felt like normal golf.”

Thomas, the reigning PGA champion, and Spieth won the fourth, fifth and sixth holes to take a 3-up lead over Sungjae Im of South Korea and Corey Conners of Canada and held off a rally by the Internationals for a 2-and-1 victory.

“You win when you pick up your partner,” said Spieth, who is 6-0-0 in Foursomes at the Presidents Cup. “That switch that we had on No. 15 (where Thomas making a long par putt) was unreal. We’re looking at going to even, and instead we leave that green 2-up. It was an unbelievable second shot and putt by Justin. It was the difference in the match.”

Said Thomas: “We played a really, really good team, a team that hits a lot of fairways, a lot of quality shots. I hit some unbelievably questionable shots. I think that’s why we make such a great team. We can salvage things when we don’t have our best stuff on a day like today.”

The Americans took a 3-0 lead when ninth-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal teamed with rookie Cameron Young for a 2-and-1 victory over 20-year-old Tom Kim of and K.H. Lee, both of South Korea.

The Internationals claimed their only victory and avoided a shutout for the day when Si Woo Kim of South Korea and Cam Davis of Australia rallied from 3 down after seven holes and still were 2 down following 14 before winning three of the last four to take a 2-up victory over top-ranked Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns.

“If we got whitewashed today, it would have been a tough pill to swallow,” International Team Captain Trevor Immelman of South Africa said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us, but like I said, we’ll keep going, man. We’ll keep going until they ring the bell.

“Nobody here expects us to win. We’ve got to have that belief deep down. Go out there and fight. We’re up against maybe the strongest American team ever assembled, on paper.”

Max Homa of Valencia and Cal teamed with Tony Finau to record a 1-up victory by winning the last hole against Taylor Pendrith of Canada and Mito Pereira of Chile, who hit a wild drove at No. 18, which allowed the Americans to win with a two-putt par after blowing a 2-up lead after seven holes.

In the five fourball matches on Friday, Spieth and Thomas will open the day against Scott and Davis; Scheffler and Burns will play Im and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia; Young and Kevin Kisner will face Pereira and Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, and Homa and Finau will go against Pendrith and Pereira.

The U.S. leads the Presidents Cup, 11-1-1.

For complete results and second-round pairings visit https://www.presidentscup.com/leaderboard.html

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