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Presidents Cup | Internationals dominate over Tiger Woods' USA on opening day

Stunning win: Ancer combined well with Oosthuizen to get the better of the fancied Johnson and Woodland.

Stunning win: Ancer combined well with Oosthuizen to get the better of the fancied Johnson and Woodland.  

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Woods-Thomas’ win brings the lone cheer for USA which trails 4-1

A Presidents Cup rivalry all but buried by decades of American dominance flickered back to life at Royal Melbourne on Thursday, as the unfancied International team stormed to a 4-1 lead by routing Tiger Woods’ USA in the fourballs matches.

Ernie Els’ rookie-laden outfit played fearlessly on a gusty day at the sandbelt course as the Internationals secured a day one lead for the first time at the biennial tournament since 2003.

Woods, only the second playing-captain in the 25-year history of the tournament, upheld his end of the bargain, as he anchored a comprehensive 4&3 win with Justin Thomas over Australian Marc Leishman and Chilean debutant Joaquin Niemann.

But that was as good as it got for the U.S. which was consistently bamboozled by Royal Melbourne’s undulating greens.

Dream team flops

Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland had been branded a dream team by U.S. media after their pairing was announced on tournament eve. But they walked off 4&3 losers after a thrashing by South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Mexican debutant Abraham Ancer.

Home hero Adam Scott and South Korea’s An Byeong-hun made it 2-1 for the host when Scott rolled in a six-foot putt for par on the 17th, clinching a 2&1 win over Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.

Canada’s Adam Hadwin and South Korean Im Sung-jae stretched the lead further with a hard-fought 1-up win against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

A banner day for the Internationals was complete on the 18th hole, when Patrick Reed missed a long putt to halve the hole and concede a second 1-up win to the east Asian duo of Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan.

“We’re not done, we’re not out of it yet,” said Woods, who was largely brilliant in a six-birdie round.

The results: International leads USA 4-1 [Marc Leishman & Joaquin Niemann lost to Tiger Woods & Justin Thomas 4 & 3; Adam Hadwin & Im Sung-jae bt Xander Schauffele & Patrick Cantlay 1 up; Adam Scott & An Byeong-hun bt Bryson DeChambeau & Tony Finau 2 & 1;

Hideki Matsuyama & C.T. Pan bt Webb Simpson & Patrick Reed 1 up; Abraham Ancer & Louis Oosthuizen bt Dustin Johnson & Gary Woodland 4 & 3].

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 10:01:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/internationals-dominate-opening-day/article30289532.ece

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