CHARLOTTE, NC — The must-make-par putt slipped past the cup, and the American crowd unleashed the same cheer that has rang in the ears of Trevor Immelman and Adam Scott and every international supporter for the past two decades of this Presidents Cup .
“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!”
They might as well have sung a different tune: “Here we go again.”
Another dominant performance in the foursome put the Americans 4-1 up at Quail Hollow and it feels like history is repeating itself.
It is the seventh time in the past eight cups that the Americans have won the opening session. The only thing they didn’t do was at Royal Melbourne three years ago when the Internationals consistently led at home but were passed by a Tiger Woods-inspired rally on the final day. The problem is that Cameron Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Niemann aren’t stepping in to help them this time.
Full match scoring from the Presidents Cup
Capitalizing on the format that has confused their opponents in the past, the Americans were behind on all but three holes – overall – as they took a commanding lead early on.
Of the 23 four-way sessions in Presidents Cup history, the United States has won 18 of them.
“It’s a real benefit to get red as early as possible on the board,” said Patrick Cantlay. “I think it just makes everyone a little more comfortable and inspires them to just follow suit.”
US captain Davis Love III fielded Cantlay and Xander Schauffele first, trying to keep up with Scott and Hideki Matsuyama, the Internationals’ most experienced side. Right behind them were Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas – another tried and trusted pair for the Americans.
Cantlay typed a text 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 ripped off four straight wins in the front nine, improving to 5-0 in the alternate shot format. Their 6-a-side win was the most lopsided foursome at the event since 2011 With a clear tone, Spieth and Thomas led from the third hole on their way to a 2-on-1 victory.
Just as Cantlay instructed, there were two early points on the board.
Immelman, Love III break up Presidents Cup Day 1
“We know each other’s games. We know how to feed each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to avoid each other,” said Thomas about Spieth, who remained undefeated in a four-man game at this event (6-0). “We did what we had to do – and that’s a point for our team.”
At one point on Thursday, the Americans held the lead in the back nine in every game and appeared poised to sweep the session and spark fears that another loss was at stake.
“It looked red all day,” Love said, “but someone came on the radio and said, ‘Yeah, but we’re 1 up in three games and they can tip over really quickly.'”
In fact, the day became decidedly tenser as a stormy cold front swept through late afternoon.
Long-hitting rookie Cameron Young rattled in a 25-footer for the birdie on the 17th green to secure another point for the Americans, a 2-and-1 win with sniper Collin Morikawa. Also on the board was another newcomer, Max Homa, who took advantage of Tony Finau’s massive drives to earn a 1-up win when Taylor Pendrith’s 10-foot strike went wide to the right.
“I’m proud of all of them, but especially these two guys,” Love said of Young and Homa. “To get a point today was great.”
BY Golf Channel Digital – September 22, 2022 at 7:03 p.m
Here’s a look at the fourball matchups and tee times from Day 2 of the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club.
The only disappointment for the Americans was the finish of Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, best friends who had seven Tour victories last season and now come together in a team competition for the first time. From three to seven holes, they won just one hole the rest of the day, falling to the international team of Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis when Davis stuffed an approach to 17 and then Burns slammed it wildly off the tee onto the home hole. The Internationals were able to salvage at least one point in the opening session, but their task will be made much more difficult this year: They are playing eight rookies against one of the strongest American teams of all time.
“We will keep fighting. That’s what we do,” Immelman said. “That’s the kind of mentality that this team has. We will regroup.”
They better, because the American fans ringing the 18th green were already warning them of what was to come as they headed to their squad room.
“It’s going to be a looong weekend!” yelled one. “A long weekend!”
Maybe not. With more sessions like this, it could be over quickly.