Justin Thomas and Cameron Young sank clutch putts and the United States blunted a back-nine fightback to lead the Internationals 4-1 after Thursday’s opening Presidents Cup matches.
The Americans dominated early then held on in foursomes (alternate shot) matches at Quail Hollow, stretching their Presidents Cup win streak in the format to 16 sessions since 2005.
Thomas sank a 27-foot par putt to win the crucial 15th hole to give him and Jordan Spieth a 2&1 triumph over Corey Conners and Im Sung-jae.
Young sank a 26-foot birdie putt to win the 17th as he and Collin Morikawa beat South Koreans Lee Kyoung-hoon and Kim Joo-hyung 2&1.
“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.”
The Americans lead the all-time rivalry 11-1-1 and have never lost on home soil, having won the past eight consecutive Cups.
Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and 2021 PGA Tour playoffs winner Patrick Cantlay ripped Masters winners Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Adam Scott of Australia 6&5 in the opener.
But the other matches were tight to the finish, with South Korean Kim Si-woo and Australian Cameron Davis winning the last four holes in a 2-up victory over top-ranked Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns.
“We hung in there. We got off to a tough start and were behind the 8-ball early,” said Internationals captain Trevor Immelman.
“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.”
Max Homa and Tony Finau won 1-up for the US team after Canada’s Taylor Pendrith missed a 10-foot par putt that would have tied the match.
It took 99 minutes to crack par for the Internationals, who quickly fell behind in every match but grinded back.
“We’re going to learn a lot,” said Canada’s Conners. “I think we’re going to be just as hungry to get back out there.”
Massive favorites with a lineup including 12 of the world’s 25 top players, the hosts have 10 of the world’s top 16 players to none for the Internationals, whose roster was decimated by defections to the LIV Golf Series that rendered players ineligible.
Friday features five fourball (best ball) matches with four matches of each format on Saturday and 12 final singles matches on Sunday with 15.5 points needed to claim the Cup.