US wins leadoff match and builds big lead at Presidents Cup
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, United States, def. Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama, International, 6 and 5.
The Americans sent out one of their strongest teams against the most experienced players on the International team. It was no contest. Matsuyama missed a 4-foot par putt on the third hole and the Americans led the rest of the way. Cantlay holed birdie putts from about 10 feet and 20 feet on the fifth and sixth holes, and Schauffele reached the green in two on the par-5 seventh to set up another birdie for a 4-up lead. Scott and Matsuyama had chances and rarely converted. They won only one hole with a birdie on the short par-4 eighth. The International side lost the last three holes with bogeys.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, United States, def. Sungjae Im and Corey Conners, International, 2 and 1.
Thomas had another memorable day at Quail Hollow. He hit a 9-iron so fat that it came up 40 yards short of the green on No. 4. He hit a shank from the bunker on No. 16. No matter. The PGA champion at Quail Hollow delivered the big moment when he made a 25-foot par putt on the 15th hole. It looked like Conners and Im were about to square the match until Thomas made that putt and Conners missed from 7 feet. The U.S. went 2 up instead and halved the next two holes for the win. Spieth delivered great chips and putts, and he and Thomas improved to 4-1 as a team in Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup matches.
Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa, United States, def. Tom Kim and K.H. Lee, International, 2 and 1.
This was the only match the International side led early, but not for long. Young made birdie on the par-3 sixth hole for the Americans’ first lead and they went 2 up at the turn. Kim and Lee won the next two holes to square the match, only for Morikawa to hit wedge to 2 feet for birdie on the 13th for the lead. The Americans were 1 up going to the 17th when Young capped off his debut by holing a 25-foot putt for the win. At that point, the Americans were already up 3-0 and assured of winning the first session.
Si Woo Kim and Cameron Davis, Australia, def. Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, United States, 2 up.
Scheffler and Burns appeared to have control of the match, especially when they birdied the par-3 sixth and par-5 seventh to go 3 up. Kim and Davis pecked away, winning the eighth and 12th with birdies. But they were still 2 down with four holes to play when they seized on American mistakes. Scheffler and Burns three-putted from 8 feet to give away the 15th and Davis made a 10-foot birdie to win the 16th and square the match. Davis hit his approach to 4 feet for birdie and the first lead for the International team, and the Americans bogeyed the last. That turned out to be the lone International point.
Tony Finau and Max Homa, United States, def. Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira, International, 1 up.
The Americans again built an early lead — they were ahead in all five matches at one point — but this was the tightest match of the day. Finau and Homa were 1 up at the turn, and the match was tied from the 13th hole on. Homa hit a splendid bunker shot on the par-5 16th to a tight pin, while Pendrith matched the birdie with a 25-foot putt. But on the final hole, Pereira went left off the tee and Pendrith could only go for the right bunker. Pereira blasted out to 10 feet, and Pendrith missed the par putt that would have halved the match.
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