CHARLOTTE, NC – As the must-have par putt slid by the cup, the American crowd roared with the same cheers that have rang in the ears of Trevor Immelman, Adam Scott and all international supporters over the past 20 years at this Presidents Cup. I let go.
“United States! United States! United States!”
They may have been chanting a different song: “Let’s go again.”
With another dominating performance on the foursome, the American rushes to a 4–1 lead at Quail Hollow and makes it feel like history is repeating itself.
It was the seventh time in the last eight Cups that the USA had won the opening session. The only time they didn’t win was at Royal three years ago in Melbourne, where the International took the lead at home, but on the final day Tiger He was overtaken by a Woods-inspired rally. The problem is that Cameron Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Unser and Joaquin Niemann haven’t stepped in to help them this time.
Scored in every match in the Presidents Cup
The American took advantage of a format that has historically confused opponents, trailing on all but three holes (total) to take a commanding early lead.
The United States has won 18 of the 23 foursome sessions in Presidents Cup history.
“There’s a real benefit to trying to redup on the board as quickly as possible,” said Patrick Cantley. “I think it just encourages everyone to get a little more comfortable and follow suit.”
US captain Davis Love III sent Cantley and Xander Schaufle first to try to match the strength of Scott and Hideki Matsuyama’s most experienced partnership in the internationals. Right behind them were Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Cantlay texted three other players the night before the opening session.
And in the first game, the American duo took a four-game winning streak on the front nine and improved to 5-0 in the alternate-shot format. His 6–5 win for them was the most lopsided foursome result in the event since 2011.
As per Cantlay’s instructions, there were two early points.
“We know each other’s games. We know how to feed each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to get out of each other’s way.” “We did what we were supposed to do, and that’s the point for our team.”
At one point on Thursday, the Americans held their lead in all of their back nine matches, sweeping the session and raising concerns that another loss was on the way.
“I looked bright red all day,” Love said.
Indeed, the passing of a gusty cold front in the late afternoon made the day decidedly tense.
Long-hitter rookie Cameron Young secured another point for the American with a 25-footer birdie on the 17th green. Also joined by another novice, Max, his homer, Tony, taking advantage of his Finau’s powerful drive, Taylor made his Pendris must-see when his 10-footer came off a right, making him 1-up. Victory.
“I’m proud of all of them, but I’m especially proud of those two,” Love said of Young and Homa.
The only disappointments for the Americans were the finishes by Scotty Schaeffler and Sam Barnes. A close friend, he completed his seven wins at the Tour last season and paired up for the first time in a team competition. From holes 3 to 7, they won just one hole to go, and when Davis packed his approach into his 17th hole and Barnes hit wildly from the tee on his home hole, Siwoo Kim and Kam he made Davis’s win. International lost to his team. While this has allowed the international team to score at least one point for him in the season opener, the job for them has clearly become more difficult this year.
“We’re going to keep fighting. That’s our job,” Immelman said. “That’s the mentality of this team. We’re reuniting.”
The American fans ringing the 18th green had already warned of what was to come as they made their way to the team room.
“It’s going to be a great weekend!” cried one. “Long weekend!”
Probably not. More sessions like this can end quickly.