The USA lead the International team 3.5 to 2.5 after the opening four-ball matches, but early signs pointed towards a bigger margin in favour of the Americans.
An 80-minute rain delay proved a godsend for the International team on day one of the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village in Ohio. Before the heavens opened the USA team lead in five of the six four-ball matches; the biennial looked set to become the rout that so many golf experts had predicted.
The International pairing of Jason Day and Graham DeLaet produced a stunning comeback to beat hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker, 1up.
After an opening birdie to DeLaet, the Americans won four of the next five holes to lead 3 up through six holes. A late rally led by a birdie from DeLaet on the 16th fired up the Canadian and Australian pairing. A succesful birdie putt from Day on the 18th secured an unlikely point for the Internationals.
“I was super nervous. I made birdie (on 1), I don’t know how. I could honestly barely feel my hands, my legs were shaking.” DeLaet said after his round.
“I’ve got an unbelievable partner. I would be more than happy to play with him again tomorrow”.
Almost topping the Day/DeLaet comeback was the post-rain performance from Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama.
Trailing by two holes with four to play Adam Scott chipped in for eagle at the 15th hole to claw a hole back. Japanese youngster Matsuyama then produced some of the great shots that have shot him into the world’s top-30 ranked golfers and salvage half a point for the Internationals.
The USA power pairing of Matt Kuchar and Tiger Woods easily beat Marc Leishman and Angel Cabrera 5 & 4. Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner never trailed in the their match and eventually won 5 & 3 over the South African pairing of Richard Sterne and Branden Grace.
Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth managed to hold out Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge to grab a point for Team USA but the upset of the day belonged to Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.
Schwartzel has a good record in Presidents Cup matches but his pairing wasn’t considered a real threat to Mickelson and Bradley, especially as Oosthuizen was coming off a long injury spell and was at one stage considered doubtful to play.
The Americans didn’t win a hole after the rain delay and the International pairing went on win 2up and grab a surprising point.
Day one four-ball results
INTL 1 up – Jason Day & Graham DeLaet vs Hunter Mahan & Brandt Snedeker
All-square – Adam Scott & Hideki Matsuyama vs Bill Haas & Webb Simpson
INTL 2 up – Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley
USA 1 up – Ernie Els & Brendon de Jonge Steve Stricker & Jordan Spieth
USA 5 & 4 – Angel Cabrera & Marc Leishman Matt Kuchar & Tiger Woods
USA 5 & 3 – Branden Grace & Richard Sterne v Zach Johnson & Jason Dufner