USA captain Davis Love III insisted there was ‘still a long way to go’ after his side opened up a 4-1 lead over the international team on matchday one of the European Cup. Chairs at Quail Hollow.
The United States have won the last eight editions of the Ryder Cup-style event against a team made up of players from the rest of the world outside of Europe.
A total of 15½ points is needed to win the trophy.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” said international captain Trevor Immelman.
“Nobody here expects us to win. We’re facing maybe the strongest American team ever on paper. We have our work cut out for us, but we’ll keep going until they sound the bell. Bell.”
Both teams have lost players to the controversial LIV Golf circuit. The Americans are without Dustin Johnson, who won all five of his matches in last year’s record Ryder Cup win over Europe at Whistling Straits.
But Immelman’s side have arguably felt the pain more with players such as Open champion and world number three Cameron Smith of Australia unable to play and the team has eight debutants.
South Africa’s Immelman took out two of his most experienced players first in the alternating shot quartets, but Australia’s Adam Scott and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama were beaten 6&5 by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in a match that gave the tone of the day.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were 2&1 winners over South Korea’s Sungjae Im and Canada’s Corey Conners, while Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa claimed victory by the same margin over South Korean pair Tom Kim and KH Lee.
A fourth point looked certain with world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 2UP after 14 holes against South Korea’s Si Woo Kim and Australian Cameron Davis
However, Kim and Davis won the last four holes to win 2UP.
In the final match, Tony Finau and Max Homa parried the 18 to narrowly beat Mito Pereira of Chile and Taylor Pendrith of Canada 1UP.
“We had games where we were rolling and the guys played really well, and then games like this with Tony and Max that they did,” Love III said.
The United States have won 11 of the previous 13 editions, with the international team winning one, with one game tied.
Friday’s format will expand to five fourball matches, with four fourball matches and four foursome matches to follow on Saturday and 12 singles matches on Sunday.
Friday Fourballs (every hour BST)
16:35 Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas vs. Adam Scott and Cameron Davis
16:50 Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns vs. Sungjae Im and Sebastian Munoz
17:05 Kevin Kisner and Cameron Young against Mito Pereira and Christiaan Bezuidenhout
17:20 Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay vs. Hideki Matsuyama and Tom Kim
17:35 Billy Horschel and Max Homa vs. Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith