A five-nil opening day sweep looked inevitable until South Korea’s Kim Si-woo and Australian Cam Davis got the better of the American pairing of world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns to snatch an unexpected point and end the day at 4-1 in USA’s favour.
Trevor Immelman, the captain of the International squad, sent out the most experienced pair from his squad of eight Presidents Cup debutants from the 12-man team, Australian Adam Scott, playing in his 10th Presidents Cup, and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama to face world number four and five Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
The move did not work as Cantlay and Schauffele steamrolled to a 6&5 win, needing just 13 holes to clinch their team’s first point. The 2021 FedEx champion Cantlay and Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Schauffele improved to 5-0-0 in the alternate shot format after going unbeaten at the 2019 Presidents and 2021 Ryder Cups.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas then took down South Korea’s Im Sung-jae and Canadian Corey Connors while Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa gave team USA another win over the South Korean partnership of Kim Joo-hyung and K.H. Lee.
Just as it seemed that the USA will sweep Day 1 of the Presidents Cup Kim and Davis won the last four holes of their match to turn the tables on Scheffler and Burns.
The moral victory gave a renewed confidence to team International, who tied Tony Finau and Max Homa through the pairing of Canadian Taylor Pendrith and Chile’s Mito Pereira until the 18th hole before the Americans secured the point.
The United States, who have dominated the biennial competition with an 11-1-1 record, seem to be comfortably placed for another win.