JERSEY CITY – International captain Nick Price expressed relief the damage was not worse after the United States stole another early march to open a two-point lead on the opening day at the Presidents Cup at Liberty National on Thursday.
The US won three of five foursomes matches, and halved another, to enjoy a 3-1/2 to 1-1/2 advantage in strong and gusty winds that made club selection difficult.
It could have been even worse for the International team as American veteran Phil Mickelson missed a six-foot putt at the final hole as he and partner Kevin Kisner halved with Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman.
The International team, comprised of players from the rest of the world excluding Europe, have now lost the opening session six consecutive times at the biennial event.
”We’re one point better off then we were two years [ago],“ Price said. ”It was a brutal day to play golf. We got behind the eight-ball early with a few of our teams being two-down, three-down at the turn.
”But the guys rallied back great. Even though we’re two points behind, it was one of our strongest starts in foursomes on Thursday.
“So the team is not discouraged at all. We have a resilient team. They are raring to go tomorrow.”
The American pair Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler set the tone in the first match, thrashing Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel 6&4.
The Americans also had an emphatic victory in match three as Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed thumped South Korean Kim Si-woo and Argentine Emiliano Grillo 5&4.
The International team suffered another disappointment when Australian Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela were edged one-up by Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
The result leaves Scott with more foursomes defeats, nine, than any player in Presidents Cup history. He is 4-9-1 in the alternate shot format. Scott also joins South African Ernie Els with a record 18 losses over all formats.