USA surge ahead in Presidents Cup

United States skipper Jay Haas

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United States skipper Jay Haas says he was over the moon with the way his team played on the first day of the Presidents Cup after opening up a 4-1 lead over their International opponents.

The International team are looking for what would be only their second win in 11 meetings with the USA and had been tipped in some quarters to bring America’s stranglehold on the competition to an end.

However, even with the event taking place at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in South Korea and with an in-form Jason Day amongst their rank, the International players proved to be no match for the United States in the foursomes.

South African pair Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace were the only duo to record a point for Nick Price’s men when they beat Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed 3&2.

The US were dominant in the remaining matches, with Bubba Watson and JB Holmes getting the defending champions off to a good start when they beat Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama 3&2 in the opening match.

Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, who enjoyed great success as a pair at the Ryder Cup last year, recorded the biggest win of the day as they thrashed Anirban Lahiri and Thongchai Jaidee 5&4, while world number one Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson were clinical in their 4&3 win over Danny Lee and Marc Leishman.

Only one match went to the 18th hole on the opening day in Incheon, with Day and Steven Bowditch fighting back from two down only for the US PGA champion to miss a birdie at the last and hand Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson the win.

Haas admits he could not have been happier with the start his team has made, with the USA now priced at 1.18 to retain the Presidents Cup.

Haas told Sky Sports: “This is wonderful, the guys played really, really well. They had to beat a really strong team. We’re ecstatic to get off this start and hopefully (we can) keep the pedal down.”

Meanwhile, opposite number Price was trying to stay positive in the hope the Internationals can pull off a dramatic turnaround.

Price said: “It was a tough day, the US team played really well. A couple of our pairings struggled, but it’s a live and learn thing when you’ve got a new fresh team like we have.

“We’ve got 25 points left, we can’t get down now, we’ve got a lot of golf (to play).”

The International team are 6.00 to win the Presidents Cup, with the draw 13.00.

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