Presidents Cup: Day 1 match recaps
September 28, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler chip-in highlights opening match win.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- The U.S. leads the International team by 3-1/2 to 1-1/2 points after Thursday's opening day of the Presidents Cup. Here's a look at each of the five Foursomes matches.
MATCH 1: USA wins, 6 and 4
Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Hideki Matsuyama/Charl Schwartzel (International)
Holes won: USA 9, Internationals 2
Holes led: USA 11, Internationals 1
Recap: The Internationals took the early lead when the U.S. conceded the second hole, having found trouble with Justin Thomas' errant tee shot. After that? It was all America. The momentum switched when Fowler chipped in from 72 feet for birdie to win the third hole. Thomas then drained a 12-foot birdie to win the fourth, and the Internationals bogeyed the fifth. All the sudden, the U.S. was 2 up and kept the pressure on. The Internationals struggled, shooting 5 over on the front side. A double-bogey at No. 7 and a bogey at No. 9 put the Internationals 5 down at the turn. Schwartzel rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt to win the 10th, but the Americans responded by winning the next two holes, Thomas rolliing in a couple of birdie putts inside 10 feet.
Rickie Fowler (on his chip-in): "That was definitely a big turn of events. I feel like we were definitely on the better side of the hole when it comes to missing that green ... That was kind of our whole goal going into the day was to manage our way around and put ourselves in the right spots. Felt like we did a good job of that."
Justin Thomas (on Fowler's chip-in): "It definitely got the round going a little bit and got the momentum going our way. But we played some unbelievable golf after that, too."
Charl Schwartzel: "There was a few key moments where things changed. One was on the fourth hole. Their ball, Rickie and Justin's ball pitched about a foot over the bunker. It looked like we might actually win that hole; end up losing it. I hit a bad shot on 7 in the water. And then you give Rickie and Justin, which are both unbelievable players, playing good golf now, you give them just a little bit of momentum, they are hard to catch."
Hideki Matsuyama: ""We really didn't get into our game today. Just the rhythm just wasn't there."
Dustin Johnson's bunker splash wins hole at the Presidents Cup
MATCH 2: USA wins, 1 up
Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar (U.S.) def. Adam Scott/Jhonattan Vegas (International)
Holes won: U.S. 5, Internationals 4
Holes led: U.S. 3, Internationals 6
Recap: A solid performance by both sides, who were all square through 15 holes. At the par-3 16th, Johnson's tee shot finished seven feet from the pin to set up Kuchar's birdie putt, while the Internationals bogeyed the hole. That gave the U.S. team its first lead of the match, and they held on from there, playing bogey-free golf for the entire match.
Matt Kuchar: "We were bogey-free today, which is amazing. In alternate-shot, in these conditions, not to make a bogey and for us to just win 1 up, that's a heck of a battle that we had with those guys. They played some really good golf and I have a heck of a partner to ride."
Dustin Johnson: "I thought we played really, really solid. Never really got out of position. Didn't make any bogeys. We just, you know, kept the ball in play."
Jordan Spieth wins hole with a 33-footer at the Presidents Cup
MATCH 3: USA wins, 5 and 4
Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth (U.S.) def. Si Woo Kim/Emiliano Grillo (Internationals)
Holes won: U.S. 8, International 3
Holes led: U.S. 12, International 0
Recap: Spieth and Reed continued to dominate as teammates, easily defeating two Presidents Cup rookies in Thursday’s foursomes play. Spieth and Reed are now 6-1-2 overall as a team, and 2-0 in the Presidents Cup. Spieth moved to 4-0 in Presidents Cup Foursomes. The American duo never trailed Thursday, winning the par-5 second hole after Kim hit the Internationals' second shot in the water. Spieth and Reed won Nos. 4-7 to take control of the match. The Internationals looked to be in good shape to win the 11th, but Spieth made a 33-footer and the Internationals bogeyed. Overall, the Americans shot even-par in Thursday’s windy conditions, making three birdies and three bogeys.
Jordan Spieth: "Other than the flip on 11, this was a pretty boring day for us, but boring is what we needed today. We really only hit, I want to say, two shots that we shouldn't hit today. We both had an iron shot that we'd like over again."
Patrick Reed: "When it's windy like this, with how comfortable we are around the greens and on the greens, it just seemed like if we got ourselves in a bad spot we were able it figure out how to get it up-and-down and save par."
Grace, Oosthuizen interview after Day 1 Foursomes match at Presidents Cup
MATCH 4: International wins, 3 and 1
Branden Grace/Louis Oosthuizen (Internationals) def. Daniel Berger/Brooks Koepka (U.S.)
Holes won: Internationals 6, U.S. 3
Holes led: Internationals 7, U.S. 2
Recap: The South Africans remain perfect, winning three of the last five holes to break open a tight match that had been all square through 12 holes. Two years ago, Grace and Oosthuizen won all four of their matches in South Korea, and delivered yet again for Nick Price. Oosthuizen made a 19-foot birdie putt to win the 13th and grab the lead. The Americans, long-time friends and former Florida State teammates, lost the 15th with a bogey after Koepka found trouble off the tee. The Internationals closed it out with an 11-foot birdie from Oosthuizen.
Louis Oosthuizen: "In the middle, a few holes, we didn't hit very good shots but we knew it was going to be a grind all day. Then we started really flushing the ball and really giving ourselves putts for birdies and making pars. In these conditions today, par on some holes is good enough to win."
Branden Grace: "It was nice to hit clutch shots when it mattered. We putted great. His speed was spot on. Down the stretch, we had a couple of long putts when we needed to just put pressure on the guys and did exactly that."
Brooks Koepka: "Just didn't give ourselves any chances on the back side. We didn't give ourselves enough chances for birdie and you have to be able to do that, especially as windy as it is today."
Daniel Berger: "We had a few stretch of holes where we lost it a little bit but Brooks played really well. I think I could have played a little bit better, and if that was the case, we may have come out with the win."
Marc Leishman wins hole with chip-in eagle at the Presidents Cup
MATCH 5: Halved
Jason Day/Marc Leishman (Internationals) halve with Phil Mickelson/Kevin Kisner (U.S.)
Holes won: U.S. 6, Internationals 6
Holes led: U.S. 9, Internationals 4
Recap: After clawing back into the match and holding the lead through 16 holes, the Internationals could not hang on for a much-needed win. But at least they salvaged a half-point. Day missed a 20-foot par putt on the final hole, giving Mickelson a chance to win the match with a 6-1/2 foot putt, but he missed too. The Americans got off to a quick start and were 3 up through six holes. But the Internationals won four straight holes to take the lead, relying on an eagle, two birdies and a par. The Americans squared the match with a par on the 12th before a nice approach by Leishman set up Day for a birdie at the 14th.
Phil Mickelson: "It was interesting. We played some good golf. We were 4-under through 10 in some difficult conditions and we were only 1 up. They had a stretch there where they won four holes and it was just back and forth. It's too bad we both bogeyed the last hole because we had some good going today."
Kevin Kisner (on Mickelson): "He was my partner in my first Presidents Cup match, something I'll always remember. He was the epitome of class and partner, and I just can't thank him enough. He carried me around all day."
Jason Day: "They had us down a lot early in the round and then Leish had a great chip-in on 9 and got us going again. Spread that momentum our way, and you know, obviously the last few holes wasn't the way we wanted to finish, but with that said, any point is like moving forward even if it's a half a point."
Marc Leishman: "That's about as intense as it gets. You have all your teammates there and all the American guys, and the match is on the line."