US takes early lead over International team at Presidents Cup
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A look at Thursday's foursomes matches in the Presidents Cup at Liberty National:
Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, United States, def. Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel, International, 6 and 4.
The Americans fell behind early with a wild tee shot on No. 2, though that didn't last long. Fowler pitched in from 70 feet to square the match, Thomas holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the next hole and the Americans were on their way. They were 4 up at the turn. Matsuyama hit his tee shot to 10 feet on the par-3 10th to win the hole and cut the deficit to 3 down, only for Fowler and Thomas to win the 11th with a par, make birdie on the reachable par-4 12th and close them out with a par on the 14th. The International team made just two birdies against five bogeys and a double bogey.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, United States, def. Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas, International, 1 up.
Johnson and Kuchar remained unbeaten as a tandem, improving to 3-0-1, and they needed some of their best golf in such tough conditions. They delivered with a bogey-free performance, remarkable for the format and the strong wind. Scott and Vegas birdied the first two holes for a 2-up lead, the Americans answered by winning the next two holes and it was tight the rest of the way. The Americans took their first lead when Scott came up short of the downwind, par-3 16th, and then narrowly missed a 6-foot par putt with Johnson having put his tee shot to 5 feet. Scott made a tough par save on the 17th to extend the match. Needing a birdie to get a half-point on the par-3 18th, Scott's tee shot came up just short in the rough and Vegas couldn't chip in.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, United States, def. Si Woo Kim and Emiliano Grillo, International, 5 and 4.
Spieth and Reed improved to 6-1-2 as a team in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, and it was a mismatch against a pair of International team rookies. This was the only match in which the Americans never trailed. Kim hit into the water on the par-5 second hole. Spieth and Reed won four straight holes starting at No. 4, three of them by only making par. Kim hit a superb bunker on the par-3 10th, where the wind caused everyone fits, and Grillo made the par to get to within 2 down. On the 11th, however, Spieth made a 35-foot par putt, while Grillo missed his 12-footer. The Americans went from potential 1-up lead to a 3-up lead.
Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, International, def. Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger, United States, 3 and 1.
Oosthuizen and Grace remained undefeated as a Presidents Cup duo, moving their record to 5-0. The Americans started birdie-birdie, and then didn't make another one after the fourth hole. The teams traded conceding holes on the ninth and 10th, and the South African duo took the lead for good when Koepka could only move a wedge from the rough some 10 yards and the Americans concede the 13th. Oosthuizen and Grace went 2 up on the 15th when Koepka missed the fairway and Berger couldn't recover. They closed out the match on the 17th when Berger missed the green.
Jason Day and Marc Leishman, International, halved with Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson, United States.
Kisner and Mickelson had five birdies on the front nine and still only had a 1-up lead, and that didn't last. The International team birdied the tough 10th hole and took the lead for the first time when the Americans ran into trouble in the trees. Leishman hit his approach to 5 feet into the wind on the 14th along the Hudson River for another 1-up lead, and it stayed that way until Leishman missed the fairway on the 17th and a bogey squared the match. On the par-3 18th, Mickelson went into a swale behind the green and Kisner putted it from long range to 8 feet. Day came up short into the rough off the lead, and Leishman chipped 18 feet by. Both missed their par putts for the only halve of the opening session.
This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.