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Little-known Aussie shocks world No.1

Little-known Aussie Cameron Davis and partner Si Woo Kim have fought back from 2-down with four holes to play to secure the International’s only point on day one of the Presidents Cup.

And they did it against some big-name opponents – namely Masters champion and world No.1 Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns.

Davis and Kim had trailed for the first fourteen holes, before they capitalised on some big mistakes to win four-straight holes to secure a shock 2-up win.

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The idea was for two of the most reliable American teams to set the tone on day one of the Presidents Cup, and the result was predictable.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay made short work of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama in the opening match. They didn’t make a bogey in a 6&5 victory, improving their record to 5-0 in foursomes at the Presidents and Ryder Cups.

Cam Davis of Australia and the International Team lines up his putt on the sixth green during the Thursday foursome matches on day one of the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 22, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, best friends since they were 14, had clutch shots to atone for their mistakes and held off Sungjae Im and Corey Conners, 2&1.

Another strong American team from top to bottom played at a high level on a hot day at Quail Hollow and walked off with a 4-1 lead after the first session.

“I told the guys last night we need to set the tone – us and JT and Jordan’s match – and we did,” Schauffele said.

“Playing this format on a day like today and not making any bogeys, it’s exactly what we need.”

Adam Scott of Australia and the International Team plays his shot from the first tee during the Thursday foursome matches during the first round of Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow September 22, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Miczek/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

The International team, already an underdog in these matches, was hurt more than the Americans by players leaving the PGA Tour for Saudi-funded LIV Golf, including Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann.

Two of the eight rookies for the International team, Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira, nearly picked up another point. They were all square going to the tough par-4 closing hole when Pereira hit a wild tee shot, Pendrith could only manage the right bunker and they made bogey. Tony Finau and Max Homa walked away with a 1-up win and a point.

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“We did what we were supposed to do,” Finau said.

The other US point came from Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young, the PGA Tour rookie of the year, who soaked up the environment before a full house at Quail Hollow and produced a winning moment of his own.

International Presidents Cup golfers Si Woo Kim on left and Cam Davis on right walk the 3rd hole during the 2022 Presidents Cup on September 22, 2022 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

They were in a tight match with against 20-year-old Tom Kim and KH Lee, all square with six holes to play. At the time, the last three matches could have gone either way. As easy as Cantlay and Schauffele made it look in the opening match, it was only one point.

The Americans regained the lead when Morikawa stuck a wedge to two-feet for birdie on the downwind 14th hole. They remained 1-up on the next two holes, and the match looked to be going the distance until Young drained a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th to end the match.

“That moment there is about all I can ask for,” Young said.

“Obviously, it’s the first day, but every point we get is important. And that’s a feeling I’ve been waiting to have for a long time.”

Cantlay and Schauffele first hooked up on the long flight over to Australia for the Presidents Cup in 2019, the first team matches for both. They have become close friends off the course and are becoming a tough team to beat inside the ropes.

Cam Davis of Australia and the International Team plays a shot from a bunker on the 16th hole during the Thursday foursome matches on day one of the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 22, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

They got plenty of help from Scott and Matsuyama – the two most experienced players on the International team – who missed plenty of putts that could have won or halved holes along the way. Matsuyama missed from four feet on the third hole, and the Americans took the lead and ran with it.

They won three straight holes through the par-5 seventh to build a 4-up lead, and they won the final three holes with pars.

Thomas, who won the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in 2017, had a wild day. He chunked a 9-iron so badly on the par-3 fourth that it came up 40 yards short of the green. He hit a shank from the bunker on the par-5 16th. He and Spieth didn’t lose either hole.

The match turned on the 15th – typically the 18th at Quail Hollow for stroke-play tournaments – when Spieth’s drive landed on the left side of a creek, Thomas did well to get to the back of the green, and Spieth ran his downhill putt some 25 feet by the hole.

Corey Conners and Sungjae Im were in position to win the hole, seven feet away for par, and square the match. Thomas holed the par putt, Conners missed and the Americans were 2-up and headed for another point.

International Team members Si Woo Kim of South Korea and Cam Davis of Australia are seen on the second green  during the first round of Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow September 22, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

“You win when you pick up your partner, and he did that,” Spieth said.

“That switch we had on the 15th was unreal there. Looking at going to even and instead we leave that green 2-up. It was the difference in the match.”

Fourballs is the game on day-two on Saturday morning (AEST), and each point moves the Americans closer to a ninth straight victory in these one-sided matches. They have never lost on home soil since the Presidents Cup began in 1994.

With such a dominant start, the Americans need only 11 points from the 25 matches remaining to retain the cup.

– With Damien McCartney

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