The first of the six Four-ball matches to open the Presidents Cup has concluded, and the USA duo of Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar have put the first points on the board. Woods and Kuchar opened with a birdie, and a choreographed celebration, and they never relinquished that lead. It was a multi-hole cushion for much of the match, and then both Woods and Kuchar turned it on coming in on the back side to close it out on the 14th green, 5 & 4. It was a dominant performance for the new duo, and it looks like Woods has his partner for the rest of the weekend and the next four two-man sessions.
For a majority of the afternoon, it looked like the American side would take a big lead after the first six matches. They led each match for almost a two-hour period, five of six American duos winning the first hole to instantly pounce. The International side lobbied to play under the Four-ball format the first day, a game they had traditionally played to a draw with the US squad. It was an attempt to avoid that first day hole which has plagued the Internationals in recent blowout USA wins. The Foursomes format has not been kind to the International group, and the first day hole resulted in a constant chase to try and catch-up. The change in strategy looked like it would end with the same result, a big American lead at the start of the week.
Late in the afternoon, however, the Internationals started to salvage the session with a bit of a comeback. The lead-off duo of Jason Day and Graham DeLaet had to win for captain Nick Price. They were up against a beatable Hunter Mahan-Brandt Snedeker team, but it was ugly at the start. Day and DeLaet fell behind 3-down through six holes, but they ground it out to get it back to all square by the 15th hole, and then took a 1-up lead on the 16th. The Americans answered to even it up at the 17th, but then the seesaw concluded with a Jason Day bombed putt on the final green to lock up the first International point. It was a fantastic match, and the Muirfield Village member drilled the putt to create some momentum for the Internationals going forward:
A snapshot of the current match board:
|Match Progress||International Pairing||USA Pairing|
|INTL wins, 1 up||Jason Day & Graham DeLaet||Hunter Mahan & Brandt Snedeker|
|USA 1 up thru 17||Adam Scott & Hideki Matsuyama||Bill Haas & Webb Simpson|
|INTL wins, 2&1||Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel||Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley|
|USA 2 up thru 15||Ernie Els & Brendon de Jonge||Steve Stricker & Jordan Spieth|
|USA wins, 5&4||Angel Cabrera & Marc Leishman||Matt Kuchar & Tiger Woods|
|USA 4 up thru 14||Branden Grace & Richard Sterne||Zach Johnson & Jason Dufner|