Incheon - The US team got off to a flying
start Thursday in the Presidents Cup to lead the International team 4-1 after
the first five foursome matches.
Third pairing out Rickie Fowler and Jimmy
Walker got the first point on the board for the US with a dominant 5 and 4
victory over rookie duo Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Anirban Lahiri of
By then the scoreboard was bathed in US red
with only the South African pair of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace offering
resistance with a solid 3 and 2 win over the out-of-sorts Matt Kuchar and
"We knew the US always start really
strong," said Oosthuizen, a key member of an International side trying to
win the trophy at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, for only
the second time in 11 attempts.
"I said to Branden we're the second
match out let's get some blue numbers in there and try to maybe pull the other
"We played nicely but overall the US
have been a bit stronger today."
Australia's Adam Scott had the honour of
the first tee shot of the 11th Presidents Cup but set the tone for a day of
scrappy play from the International side by finding the right rough.
With former US president and honorary 2015
Presidents Cup chairman George W. Bush leading applause on the opening tee,
Bubba Watson struck the first blow for the US with a booming right-to-left
drive that landed in the heart of the fairway.
Hideki Matsuyama rescued the situation for
Scott with a solid approach as the hole was halved in par.
But then the Americans caught fire slamming
in birdies at the next four holes to race to three up after just five.
Scott, in his seventh Presidents Cup,
stayed patient and pulled a hole back at the seventh before playing a majestic
wedge at the 10th to leave Matsuyama four feet away to cut the deficit to one.
The turning point came on the next hole
when Scott, reverting to the short putter this week instead of the broomstick
he has used for years, faced an eight-footer to square the match but pulled it
horribly left under pressure.
By contrast Watson's partner J.B. Holmes
was impeccable with the putter all day and sank birdies at the 15th and 16th to
close out a 3 and 2 win.
Holmes, only called into the side last
Friday to replace the injured Jim Furyk, gelled wonderfully with the
big-hitting double Masters champion.
"I was just happy to have a chance to
play," Holmes said after his round. "I felt bad for Jim but excited
about the opportunity.
"We really like how the course is set
up so it was a no-brainer to come out here today and play aggressive and we did
what we wanted to do."
Player of the year Jordan Spieth and
partner Dustin Johnson had an uncharacteristic sloppy front nine against the
similarly wayward pair of Marc Leishman and Danny Lee.
But the American duo showed their class
after going to the ninth just one up and eventually ran away with the match 4
Only one match went to the final hole as
Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson led most of the way against Aussie pair Jason
Day and Steven Bowditch.
Mickelson had an early contender for shot
of the week when holing a 45-foot bunker blast at the short 13th to put his
side 2 up.
But US PGA champion Day would not lie down
and holed a monster birdie putt at the 17th to ensure the match went the
Day then boomed a drive down the 542-yard
par-five 18th to leave Bowditch 230 yards to the pin but an adrenalin-fuelled
Mickelson pulled out his own big guns and flew his tee shot past the
Australian's by almost 60 yards.
Johnson had just 186 yards to the flag and
obliged with a measured six-iron to eight feet.
When Day lagged his 20-foot eagle effort
just left of the pin out came the handshakes and the Americans had secured
their fourth point of a dominant opening day.
Results on Thursday from the Presidents Cup round one foursomes at
the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, Incheon, South Korea (par 72) International
International team 1 United States 4
Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama lost to Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes 3 and 2
Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace beat Matt Kuchar/Patrick Reed 3 and 2
Anirban Lahiri/Thongchai Jaidee lost to Rickie Fowler/Jimmy Walker 5 and 4
Jason Day/Steven Bowditch lost to Phil Mickelson/Zach Johnson 2 down
Danny Lee/Marc Leishman lost to Jordan Spieth/Dustin Johnson 4 and 3