CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On paper, this year’s Presidents’ Cup looked one-sided, but it turns out the golf course isn’t much different.
In two sessions in Quail Hollow, North Carolina, the American star team of Davis Love III has lost just one game and is leading 8-2 over the weekend. At Four Bowls on Friday, the Americans continued where they left off on Thursday, winning three games and drawing two.
“We have a lot of points left and we’re not sitting there. OK, this is great,” Love said. “We have seen many big leads lost.
Love is correct in that respect, it is not finished mathematically. Mathematically, however, the American should also note that he could reach 15.5 points and win the Presidents his Cup on Saturday before Sunday’s singles play begins.
“This score means we have to do better and we will, it’s simple,” said international captain Trevor Immelman. “As long as I say something to the team, I don’t have to say much. “They want to be here. They want to compete. There’s not much to say.”
Team USA’s top pairing handled business on Friday. Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay overtook his opponents for the second day in a row, while major winner Hideki Matsuyama and his 20-year-old defeated Tom Kim 3&2.
“I think hot starts are very important in match play to build momentum on your side and force them to do something to catch up,” Cantlay says. “I think leading in match play is huge and we did a great job on that today.”
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas also took back-to-back wins, beating Adam Scott and Kam Davis 2&1.
“It did an incredible job of picking one up when the other wasn’t always in the best position,” Thomas said. “That’s why we love this format, Best Ball. It feels like it has firepower. You can make a lot of birdies.”
Friday’s international points came thanks to two half matches. Son Jaime and Sebastian Muñoz drew on his 17th hole before Scotty Schaeffler and Sam He drew Barnes, Mito He Pereira and Christian Bezuidenhout faced off against Kevin Kisner and Cameron Young.
In the day’s final match, the first all-Canadian team in the President’s Cup, Corey Connors and Taylor Pendris, faced Max Houma and Billy Horschel.
After trailing most of the match, the Canadian even pulled at the 13th hole when Connors hit a 32-foot birdie after battling putter for two days.
Homa won the 17th hole with a birdie putt, and the USA went to the last with a one-up lead. For the second straight day, Pendris faced a must-make putt on the 18th hole, giving his team a chance to score a tie. The 31-year-old, who hit hard after missing Thursday, found the bottom of the cup with a 13-foot birdie on his putt and pressured Homa to match.
With players and captains from both teams surrounding the green, Homa hit the winning putt.
“Money can’t buy that feeling,” Homa said. “And it’s something I’ll remember forever and tell anyone who wants to hear about it how it felt.”
There will be two sessions on Saturday, foursomes in the morning and fourballs in the afternoon. Pendrith does not attend the first session. Connors will be paired with his Day 1 partner Son Jaime in a rematch with Spieth and Thomas.
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Presidents Cup: America’s rout heads into the weekend
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