US seize early advantage in Presidents Cup

Rickie Fowler (L) and Justin Thomas of the US Team talk on the eighth green during the Presidents Cup in New Jersey
AFP

Jersey City (United States) (AFP) – Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas grabbed the first point of the 2017 Presidents Cup for the United States on Thursday with a dominant 6 & 4 foursomes win over Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel.

The Americans, winners of nine of the prior 11 editions of the biennial match play showdown against an International team, wasted no time in asserting themselves at Liberty National Golf Club.

But the Internationals, keen to avoid a repeat of 2015’s disastrous opening day, were fighting tooth and nail to stay close.

As world number four Thomas and eighth-ranked Fowler were wrapping up their match, the United States were leading one more match, with three more of the day’s five foursomes all-square on the back nine.

Fowler and Thomas were 1-down to Japanese world number three Matsuyama and South African Schwartzel through two holes.

Fowler chipped in from off the green as the Americans squared the match at the third as the US duo won five of seven holes to make the turn 4-up.

They sealed the win with a par at the par-four 14th hole.

The day started with a festive opening ceremony attended by former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

It marked the first time that three US presidents have attended the biennial match play showdown launched in 1994.

Phil Mickelson, the only player to compete in all 12 Presidents Cups to date, made the most of the occasion, making his way to the first tee early to shake hands and get a selfie.

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