Presidents Cup: Saturday match recaps
10 Min Read
Written by Staff @PGATOUR
Presidents Cup players on the rerouting of Green Mile at Quail Hollow
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After being dominated by the U.S. Team in the Presidents Cup’s first two rounds, the Internationals fought back on a thrilling Saturday at Quail Hollow Club.
Led by the exuberant Tom Kim, the International Team outscored the U.S., 5-3, in Saturday’s two sessions to pull within four points (11-7) entering the Sunday Singles Session.
Kim’s emotional celebrations were the highlight of the day, as he fist-pumped his way around Quail Hollow after holing a series of crucial putts. None was more important than the 10-footer for birdie he holed on 18 to secure a 1-up win over one of the United States’ top teams, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
Kim dropped his putter and slammed his hat on the ground before the ball even fell in the hole, kicking off a raucous celebration. Jordan Spieth had secured the first point of the afternoon with a chip-in at 15 but the International Team rallied to win Saturday’s final three matches to keep its underdog hopes alive. A dozen Singles matches now await to determine the Presidents Cup.
Read below for recaps from Saturday’s two sessions to get caught up on an exciting day full of improbable shots and thrilling finishes.
SATURDAY: AFTERNOON FOUR-BALLS
Si Woo Kim/Tom Kim (Intl.) def. Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele (U.S.), 1-up
The youngest player at the match delivered late Saturday afternoon, as 20-year-old Tom Kim delivered a huge point for his International side with a 10-foot birdie putt at the 505-yard final hole at Quail Hollow. Kim’s winning putt completed a nice comeback against the U.S. power tandem of Cantlay/Schauffele, who were trying to go 3-0-0.
Riding a small dose of momentum after splitting the morning session, the International Team led off with the Kims in the afternoon, hoping the younger Kim could help energize Si Woo. The Internationals were 1-down at the turn, then slid 2-down when both Kims missed short par putts at the par-3 10th.
The Internationals continued to fight. Tom Kim bounced back by driving the 306-yard 11th and making his second eagle putt of the day on that green, from 55 feet. Si Woo made birdies at 13 and 16 to offset a great birdie by Schauffele at 15, where he rolled in a 38-footer from off the green. (Tom Kim missed from 9 feet.) Si Woo birdie at 16 sent the match down 17 tied.
At 18, Cantlay missed a 31-footer left, leaving the stage for Kim, whose left-to-right putt tumbled inside the left edge of the cup. The putt was set up by a brilliant 2-iron he hit from 233 yards out on the demanding par-4 hole.
QUOTES: “I have my team around me, and they were looking over, and I wanted that putt more than any in the world. I took heart to it. I had my partner all day, and he made some clutch shots.” – Tom Kim
Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth (U.S.) def. Hideki Matsuyama/Taylor Pendrith (Intl.), 4 and 3
Welcome to the Jordan Spieth Show. Left off the the U.S. Team three years ago when it played in Australia, Spieth returned this week as the most experienced U.S. player. Saturday afternoon he was its best, as well.
On the closing hole of Quail Hollow’s brutal Green Mile – this week, the par-4 15th – Spieth chipped in from the edge of the left-side penalty area for his sixth birdie of the afternoon. When Pendrith lipped out from 8 feet, the U.S. had its first point of the round. The U.S. was 3-up at the turn, and Spieth’s three birdies on the back nine kept the International Team from any sort of of move. He and Thomas became only the third team in Presidents Cup history to go 4-0-0 in team play.
QUOTES: “Just imagine how good we’d be if we ever hit a fairway.” – Jordan Spieth, to NBC’s walking reporter Roger Maltbie, after his birdie from inches away was conceded at the 12th
“I don't know how many birdies exactly they had, but it seemed like a lot. ... I didn't have my best stuff. Hideki kind of held us in there, but that's the way it goes.” – Taylor Pendrith
Score at match’s conclusion: U.S. Team 11, International Team 4
Sungjae Im/Sebastian Munoz (Intl.) def. Tony Finau/Kevin Kisner (U.S.), 4 and 2
Kisner had a cold day with the putter on Friday, but tied the match Saturday when he buried an 8-foot eagle putt at 7. Munoz birdied the eighth, and Im padded his team’s lead to 2-up by lagging close from 70 feet after driving the green at the 306-yard hole. Munoz, a rookie and captain's pick, played in both Four-ball rounds, finishing 1-0-1.
QUOTES: “Rest was really important for me this morning. I waited in the cabin, waited for the guys, and tried to focus on my match with Sungae.” – Sebastian Munoz
Adam Scott/Cam Davis (Intl.) def. Sam Burns/Billy Horschel, (U.S.), 1-up
Saturday’s anchor match was a tight one, and featured some great play down the stretch from both sides. Scott, at 42 the oldest player at this year’s Presidents Cup, and his rookie partner desperately needed a full point against rookies Burns and Horschel.
Scott played nicely all day long, and Davis joined up for some incredible contributions when the pressure got highest, finishing eagle-birdie-birdie. Davis made eagle at the 16th – where a brilliant short-side bunker shot setting up birdie by Horschel left the U.S., 1-up at the time, poised to take a lead to 17. Davis followed that with a birdie at 17 from 15 feet to give the Aussie duo its first lead of the match.
He had some final magic saved for 18, where one last birdie from 9 feet was enough to hold off a clutch closing birdie from Burns, who stuffed his approach inside 5 feet.
QUOTES: “I actually fed off it (the energy). I reckoned I was more pumped up than I had been all week, and sometimes that brings out your best golf. That is exactly what I felt. ... It was awesome.” – Cam Davis
“It’s huge, this afternoon. This morning, even, just hanging in there. This afternoon, some momentum. It’s something we haven’t had all week. We’ve got a little bit. Let’s get a hot start tomorrow.” – Adam Scott
Score at match’s conclusion: U.S. Team 11, International Team 7
SATURDAY: MORNING FOURSOMES
Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Sungjae Im/Corey Conners (Intl.), 4 and 3
Conners, second on the PGA TOUR last season in greens in regulation, struggled mightily with his long game, hitting uncharacteristically some loose irons. Nonetheless, he gave Im 14 feet for birdie at the 13th to get the Internationals to 1-down. But Im ran the putt 8 feet past, Conners missed the comebacker, and the U.S. was in control, 3-up. They would close out the match when the Internationals made double at the difficult 15th.
Spieth and Thomas struggled some, and trailed for the first time all week when they lost the second hole, but they had the lead for good after winning the third and fourth holes. In addition to both getting to 3-0-0 on the week, Spieth moved to 7-0-0 in Foursomes in this event. Thomas improved to 4-0-2.
QUOTES: “I think all of us have a good mindset, and we’re very fortunate to have such an experienced team, to where a lot of these guys have won and won at very big stages. It means they’ve likely played with the lead.” – Justin Thomas
“We were down for the first time this week, in this match, through two holes, and then we got it right back on the third. We didn’t quite have our best stuff, but we made some putts when we needed to, and JT hit some great iron shots today, and really picked me up on a few holes.” – Jordan Spieth
Score at match’s conclusion: U.S. Team 9, International Team 2
Scott/Hideki Matsuyama (Intl.) def. Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa (U.S.), 3 and 2
Scott and Matsuyama were thumped in Thursday’s opening Foursomes round, but the International Team's two most experienced players rebounded nicely. They took control of the match by winning five consecutive holes starting at the ninth, flipping the match from 2-down to 3-up.
Starting at 10, Scott rolled in putts of 13, 14 and 26 feet. The U.S. struggled to match that firepower, making only one birdie on the day (the short eighth) and making a pair of doubles, losing Nos. 9 and 13.
The Scott-Matsuyama pairing was a risk for International Captain Trevor Immelman, as the two were 1-4-1 together heading into the day. Scott tied Ernie Els for most Foursomes victories by an International player, with eight.
QUOTES: “To be honest, not my A-game today, but I feel like, you know, Adam was hitting the fairway. So I think my job today was to hit the target. So I think I was able to do that today.” – Hideki Matsuyama
“I drove the ball better. I drove it so poorly for Hideki the first match, I left him with nothing all day. But I straightened that out a bit and, you know, neither of us were feeling great. But we stuck in there and we took advantage of a few good shots and capitalized when they were struggling.” – Adam Scott
Score at match’s conclusion: U.S. Team 9, International Team 3
Tom Kim/K.H. Lee (Intl.) def. Sam Burns/Scottie Scheffler (U.S.), 2 and 1
This was the morning’s only match to reach the 17th hole. The Internationals went on top after winning 10 (where Scheffler, the World No. 1, gave amateurs everywhere hope with a complete shank) and 11, with Kim converting a 36-foot downhill putt for eagle, fist-pumping and leaving his ball in the cup.
Burns and Scheffler, who owned the lone U.S. loss on Thursday, were scrambling to salvage the point and fell for the second time in Foursomes. They even switched their order, with Burns teeing off on odd holes, giving him more chances with the putter.
At 15, Lee made birdie from 14 feet after a great approach from Kim, the youngest player in the matches. The U.S. then made bogey at the 610-yard 16th, where they never recovered after a poor layup by Burns. A par by the Internationals at the 17th ended the match.
QUOTES: “I felt pressure that I've never felt at any other tournament. And because of that, it's been more fun than any other golf tournament I've ever played. ... Tom's like the Energizer bunny, just keeps going. Although he's a star already, I think he's going to be a superstar soon.” K.H. Lee
Score at match’s conclusion: U.S. Team 10, International Team 4
Tony Finau/Max Homa (U.S.) def. Si Woo Kim/Cam Davis (International), 4 and 3
Homa, one of six U.S. rookies, continues his magical September run, winning his third match of the week. Kim and Davis were the first International team in 14 matches at Quail Hollow not to trail through seven holes. They were tied, mostly thanks to Kim, who made a 21-foot putt on the fifth and pitched in for birdie at the difficult par-3 sixth. Davis, who played solidly through two days, struggled with the putter on Saturday.
Mid-round, as the Internationals were making pars, Finau and Homa were making birdies at Nos. 8 (Homa, 7 feet), 9 (Finau, 8 feet) and 12 (two putts from just in front). The U.S. led, 3-up, and went to work on closing out the match, which they did with a 6-foot par putt from Homa on the long par-4 15th.
The U.S. side made four birdies. Homa moved to 3-0-0, with Finau improving to 2-0-0.
QUOTES: “It’s been fun. This place means a lot to me. I got my first win here. But yeah, this week has been a dream come true. My partners have been unbelievable, and I’m just having a lot of fun.” – Max Homa
“He’s a rock. He’s solid as a rock. He’s so clutch. I said that on my Instagram a couple of days ago, before we even played. I’m like, I’m playing with Mr. Clutch. And anybody who didn’t know, now you know.” – Tony Finau
Score at match’s conclusion: U.S. Team 10, International Team 3