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U.S. Takes 4-1 Lead in Presidents Cup As Foursomes Continue to Plague International Team

The teams of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele continued to dominate as the Internationals narrowly avoided a Day 1 shutout.
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It is uncommon in golf, a rare team competition that players relish for its uniqueness and the ability to share the highs and lows with each other, rather than just their small circles.

But reality is that once you are on the course, there is very little you can do for your teammates at the Presidents Cup (or Ryder Cup or Solheim Cup) other than take care of your own business.

You can’t do anything about the other matches, can’t impact play in any way other than to take care of what is in front of you, no matter what your teammates are doing—or not doing.

So that’s all that Australia’s Cam Davis and South Korea’s Si Woo Kim could worry about on Thursday as they played their foursomes match against world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and his good buddy, Sam Burns.

The Americans were an overwhelming favorite in that match, and they led 3 up through seven holes. But Davis and Kim fought back, winning the last four holes for a 2-up win.

Cam Davis watches a shot in Day 1 of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

Only Cam Davis and his partner Si Woo Kim could muster a point in foursomes for the International team on Day 1 of the Presidents Cup.

“It’s always more satisfying when you start off not having your best stuff and then you find a way to turn it around, especially against the caliber of players that are playing here,’’ said Davis, who won the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic and is ranked 66th in the world. “I was just really proud of the way I started hitting good shots when it mattered, and I was really proud of the way Si Woo started getting the putts at perfect speed, and we started getting some.

“It was great to see that. Really proud as a team and individually that we managed to get it done.’’

Davis admitted that while he didn’t see a scoreboard until the back nine, he realized things were not going well for the rest of the team.

“It didn’t sound great,’’ Davis said. “We were down in our match as well. It didn’t change any of our mindset. I felt 'keep doing what we’re doing.' It felt great to get a little bit of the other color on the board because it ended up being a little one-sided. Very proud we managed to get some work done for the Internationals.’’

“Just so proud of those guys,’’ said Trevor Immelman, the International team captain. “Cam has been chomping at the bit for the longest period of time. We really feel like he’s come out of his shell a lot and I think he has an extremely high ceiling and a ton of potential. That’s why I picked him. For those guys to finish strong and eke out a point for us was big psychologically. If we had been whitewashed that would have been a tough pill to swallow. But we’ll keep fighting.’’

It was a small bright spot in an otherwise bleak day for the International team, which has struggled in the foursomes format for years and finds itself trailing a heavily-favored American squad after the first of four sessions, 4-1.

The International squad has not won a foursomes session outright since the 2005 Presidents Cup. Overall, the Americans lead 87.5 to 50.5 with all of the other formats being relatively equal.

While the Americans have struggled in foursomes (also referred to as alternate shot) at times during the Ryder Cup, its top players compete in the format every year.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are now a combined 5-0 in foursomes after their 6-and-5 victory over Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott.

Jordan Spieth is now 6-0 in foursomes at the Presidents Cup after teaming with Justin Thomas to defeat Sungjae Im and Corey Conners 2 and 1.

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas look on from the first tee on the opening day at the 2022 Presidents Cup.

Jordan Spieth (left) and Justin Thomas continued their strong partnership with a win.

Tom Kim and K.H. Lee managed to tie their match with Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young through 12 holes, only to give back the lead to a birdie at the 13th and never catch up, losing 2 and 1. Morikawa has foursomes experience from last year’s Ryder Cup.

And the last match was particularly difficult for the International team, as Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira fought back from a 2-down deficit through six holes to tie it through 12 and then lost to Tony Finau and Max Homa with a bogey on the 18th, 1 up. Finau also has experience in the format, having played in the last Presidents Cup and the last two Ryder Cups.

“Hideki and Adam were taken out pretty easily. And that had to be dispiriting for the other guys behind them,’’ said Paul McGinley, the victorious European Ryder Cup in 2014 who is working as an analyst for Golf Channel. “It’s been a disappointing day for the Internationals and the mountain they had to climb just got higher.’’

If there is a consolation for the International team, it is the U.S. trailed by the same 4-1 margin through the first session three years ago at Royal Melbourne. Thomas and Tiger Woods were the only players to win in four-ball that day.

That will be the format on Friday, when captain Trevor Immelman sends out five new teams, with Si Woo Kim and K.H. Lee sitting.

The Americans are keeping three of the same teams: Spieth/Thomas, Schauffele/Cantlay and Scheffler/Burns. Billy Horschel will play in his first-ever match with Homa while Kevin Kisner gets a chance with Young.

“The message has stayed the same,’’ Immelman said. “The message is playing free. Nobody here expects us to win. We have to have that belief deep down. Go out there and fight. We might be up against the strongest American team ever on paper. We have to do what we do and play as hard as we can.’’

More Presidents Cup Coverage

> It’s Getting Late Early for the Internationals, Who Need to Toss Out the Game Plan
> Day 2 Pairings at Quail Hollow
> Live Updates: U.S. Takes 4-1 Lead over Internationals
American Rookies Answer the Call in Dominant First Day at Quail Hollow