USA dominates Day One at Prez CupAdam Scott and K J Choi’s emphatic win against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker was the highlight of the Presidents Cup opening day, but the United States nevertheless held a 4-2 lead over the International team after the foursomes.
Scott and Choi beat Woods and Stricker 7 and 6 at Royal Melbourne to set a standard that, for the most part, their International team-mates failed to match.
"They got off to a good start and we just couldn't keep up," said a disappointed Woods.
"We kept the ball on the wrong side of the slopes and this golf course is so difficult that it's hard to make up shots.
"They shot four under par on us."
The Internationals led at the fifth hole in five of the six foursomes matches before the Americans mounted a concerted fightback on a layout that offered them few favours.
Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk beat Robert Allenby and Retief Goosen 4 and 3, David Toms and Hunter Mahan prevailed 6 and 5 over South Korean pair K T Kim and Y E Yang, while competition debutants Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson were the first to claim a point for the USA with a 4 and 2 victory over Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar recovered heroically from two down with two to play to halve their match with Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day, while Bill Haas and Nick Watney also rallied late for a share of the points with Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel.
Baddeley had the opportunity to close out his match on the 17th green, but his three foot putt for par slipped past the hole.
The Australian then shanked his three wood from the tee at the 18th into the trees to open the door for his opponents.
Els and his 20 year old Japanese partner Ishikawa led by two after four holes, but could not keep it going.
The momentum swung when Simpson holed birdie putts at the fifth and sixth and thereafter, according to Watson, it was just a matter of staying relaxed.
"My job was just to loosen him up," said Watson of his 26 year old partner, who finished second on the US PGA Tour money list last season.
"I told him a couple of jokes. I stopped him a couple of times and made him laugh and he just got into it.
"He changed his pace a little bit, and here we are."
Conditions at the course were bright and sunny with an afternoon sea breeze that failed to develop into the stiff northerly that typically transforms Royal Melbourne from formidable to fearsome.
Tomorrow's programme has been brought forward because of the forecast of afternoon thunderstorms.
The opening four-ball match is scheduled to get underway from the first tee at 0945 local time (2245 Thursday GMT).
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