CHARLOTTE, NC – The unmissable par putt slipped close to the cup and the American audience sparked the same applause that rang in the ears of Trevor Immelman and Adam Scott and every international supporter over the past two decades of this Presidents Cup.
“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!”
They may also have sung a different tune: “Here we go again.”
With another dominant performance in the quartet, the Americans exploded a 4-1 lead at Quail Hollow which already makes it feel like history is repeating itself.
It is the seventh time in the last eight cups that the Americans have won the opening session. The only one they didn’t do was three years ago, at Royal Melbourne, when the Internationals drove everything at home but were overtaken on the last day by a Tiger Woods inspired rally. The problem is that Cameron Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Niemann are not stepping in to help them this time around.
Score for the entire Presidents Cup match
The Americans took advantage of the format that has historically confused their opponents, remaining at a disadvantage for all but three holes – total – while taking a massive opening lead.
Of the 23 four-handed sessions in the history of the Presidents Cup, the United States has won 18.
“There is a real advantage in trying to get red on the scoreboard as soon as possible,” said Patrick Cantlay. “I think it puts everyone a little more comfortable and inspires them to follow suit.”
US captain Davis Love III sent Cantlay and Xander Schauffele out first, trying to match the strength of the more seasoned partnership of Scott and Hideki Matsuyama’s internationals. Right behind them were Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, another tried and true American couple.
Cantlay wrote a message to the other three players on the eve of the opening session: “Let’s try to set a tone”.
And in the first game, the American duo snatched four straight wins over the top nine and improved to 5-0 in the alternate shooting format. Their 6 and 5 win was the most lopsided foursome result in this event since 2011. With the tone set, Spieth and Thomas led from the third hole to a 2 and 1 win.
Just as Cantlay indicated, there were two starting points on the board.
“We know each other’s games. We know how to feed each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to stay away from each other, “said Thomas of Spieth, who went undefeated (6-0) in four-man matches in this event.” We did what we had to do and that’s a point for the team. our team “.
At one point on Thursday, the Americans held the lead in every game over the top nine, seemingly aimed at wiping out the session and sparking fears that another rout was underway.
“It looked red all day,” Love said, “but someone came on the radio and said, ‘Yeah, but we’re 1 in three games, and those can change very quickly.'”
In fact, the day became noticeably tighter when a cold and windy wind passed in the late afternoon.
Long-time rookie Cameron Young landed a 25-foot birdie on the 17th green to secure another point for the Americans, a 2-to-1 win with sharpshooter Collin Morikawa. Also on the board was another rookie, Max Homa, who took advantage of Tony Finau’s huge drives and took a 1 on victory when Taylor Pendrith’s 10-footer missed right.
“I’m proud of all of them, but especially those two guys,” Love said of Young and Homa. “To get a point today was great.”
The only disappointment for the Americans was the finish line of Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, best friends who together for seven Tour wins last season and have now been paired together for the first time in a team competition. Three out of seven holes, they only won one hole for the remainder of the day, falling against the international team of Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis when Davis put in an approach in 17 and then Burns hit him wildly off the tee on the home hole. This allowed the Internationals to recover at least one point in the opening session, but their task this year is much more difficult: they are away, with eight rookies, against one of the strongest American teams ever gathered.
“We will continue to fight. That’s what we do, ”Immelman said. “That’s the kind of mentality this team has. We will reorganize ”.
They would do better, because the American fans playing the 18th green were already warning them of what was going to happen as they made their way to their team room.
“It will be a terrible weekend!” one yelled. “A long weekend!”
Maybe not. With multiple sessions like this, it could end quickly.