The Internationals rescued themselves from a major disaster on day one of the Presidents Cup, rallying late to stop an American cleansweep in the foursomes.
Team USA was leading all five matches at North Carolina’s Quail Hollow, but a stunning comeback from Australia’s Cameron Davis and Si Woo Kim limited the damage to 4-1.
Presidents Cup rookie Davis and Kim were three-down against world No.1 Scottie Scheffler and No.12 Sam Burns but went on to win two-up, with the Australian’s iron play a standout.
The Internationals pairing came alive late, winning each of the final four holes to pull off one of the tournament’s great upsets.
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Davis is ranked 66th in the world and has one win on the PGA Tour, while Kim is ranked 76th with three career victories — the same amount Burns claimed in this season alone.
Meanwhile, it is the first time the world No.1 has lost his opening Presidents Cup match since 2005, when Adam Scott and Retief Goosen beat Tiger Woods and Fred Couples, according to statistician Justin Ray.
Earlier, Scott and Hideki Matsuyama were crushed 6&5 by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in the opening match, which looked to set the tone for the day.
Scott and Matsuyama — the Internationals strongest pairing on paper — had a nightmare start, losing four of the first seven holes.
The pair went on to win only a single hole for the entire round as Schauffele and Cantlay put their foot down on the back nine to claim a massive win on the 13th hole.
It looked like it would be a bloodbath for the Internationals as the hosts raced out to a lead in all five matches.
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Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas went on to beat Sungae Im and Corey Conners 2&1. Spieth is now 6-0 and foursomes matches at the Presidents Cup. Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa then downed Tom Kim and KH Lee by the same margin to make it a perfect 3-0 start for the United States.
Davis and Kim eventually stopped the bleeding for the Internationals for the team’s only point of the day.
Only a centimeter stopped the Internationals from gaining another half-point, but Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira suffered a heartbreaking loss on the 18th hole to Tony Finau and Max Homa.
In the closest match of the day, the teams were tied for five-consecutive holes late until Pereira cracked at the 18th, pulling his drive off the tee, while he also left a bunker shot well short.
That left Pendrith with a 10-foot putt for the tie, but he narrowly missed on the high side to give the Americans a 4-1 lead.
It was the 16th-consecutive foursomes session at the Presidents Cup that the United States have either won or tied.
“We had some matches that we played really solid and some that were really a grind,” US captain Davis Love said. “A great start, a lot of heart.”
Already facing a mountain to climb having been gutted by LIV Golf, the Internationals will need to pull off one of sport’s greatest ever comebacks to avoid losing a ninth straight Presidents Cup.
The Americans lead the all-time rivalry 11-1-1 and have never lost on home soil.
Nonetheless, Internationals captain Trevor Immelman remains hopeful.
“We hung in there. We got off to a tough start and were behind the 8-ball early,” he said.
“We’re going to have to find a way to make a few putts in the next few days. But we’ll hang in there. That’s what we do. We’ll never quit.”
Five points will be on offer again on Saturday with fourballs taking place from 1.30am (AEST).
Immelman has taken the gamble to split up his only winning pairing on day one, with Davis joining Scott in an all-Australian pairing against Spieth and Thomas.
DAY ONE FOURSOME RESULTS
Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama def. by Patrick Cantlay/Xander Sschauffele 6 & 5
Sungjae Im/Corey Conners def. by Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas 2 & 1
Tom Kim/KH Lee def by Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa 2 & 1
Si Woo Kim/Cameron Davis def. Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns 2 UP
Taylor Pendrith/Mito Pereira def. by Tony Finau/Max Homa 1 UP
DAY TWO FOUR-BALL PAIRINGS
Cameron Davis/Adam Scott vs Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas
Sungjae Im/Sebastian Munoz vs Sam Burns/Scottie Scheffler
Mito Pereira/Christiaan Bezuidenhout vs Kevin Kisner/Cameron Young
Hideki Matusyama/ Kim Joohyung vs Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele
Corey Conners/Taylor Pendrith vs Billy Horschel/Max Homa