Presidents Cup 2017 Leaderboard: Thursday Results and Top Highlights

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2017

Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas got the U.S. off to a strong start in the Presidents Cup.
Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas got the U.S. off to a strong start in the Presidents Cup.Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Presidents Cup has been dominated by the United States over the years, and the first day of competition at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, New Jersey, saw the Americans make a statement against the International team by charging to a 3.5-1.5 lead.

That could be bad news for the International side. The American have never lost the Presidents Cup when taking a first-day lead.

Justin Thomas, coming off his triumph in the FedEx playoff, and Rickie Fowler got the Americans off to a brilliant start. They teamed up to defeat Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel 6 and 4 in foursomes. 

Thomas and Fowler lost the second hole, but they roared back to take five of the next seven holes and were 4 up through nine holes. After Matsuyama and Schwartzel regained a bit of dignity by winning the 10th, Thomas and Fowler won three of the next four holes to put the match away.

Fowler chipped in from 72 feet on the third hole, and that's where the Americans gained their momentum.

"That was definitely a big turn of events," Fowler said, per PGATour.com. "I feel like we were definitely on the better side of the hole when it comes to missing that green. That was kind of our whole goal going into the day was to manage our way around and put ourselves in the right spots. (I) felt like we did a good job of that."

Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth continue to perform well in international competition.
Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth continue to perform well in international competition.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Foursome play has traditionally gone well for the U.S. team in the Presidents Cup, and the team of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed also had a solid opening match in powering past Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim by a 5 and 4 margin.

Spieth and Reed formed a winning and exuberant partnership in last year's Ryder Cup competition, and those two were paired together again in this year's team competition.

Spieth and Reed are 6-1-2 when paired together in international competition and 2-0 in the Presidents Cup, according to Sean Martin of PGATour.com.

Despite those two triumphs, the International team was not about to concede anything on Day 1 as Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas traded momentum swings with Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar of the United States.

Johnson made one of the best shots of the day when he holed out from the bunker on the seventh hole, and that allowed his team to square the match. It continued to go back and forth until Johnson and Kuchar took the lead on the 16th hole and held on for the 1-up victory.

Louis Oosthuizen has a remarkable record in international competition.
Louis Oosthuizen has a remarkable record in international competition.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

After losing the first three matches, the International team could have suffered a brutal first day. However, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace were not about to let that happen. That pairing was even with Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger through 12 holes, but the International team won the 13th and 15th holes to take charge.

Oosthuizen and Grace secured the first point of the match for the International team, winning by a 3 and 1 score. 

That win should not be a surprise, because those South African players have combined to go 5-0 in international competition. Oosthuizen, one of the most respected players in the world, is 5-0-2 in his last seven Presidents Cup matches.

The final match of the day between was the most exciting as Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner split the point with the International team of Marc Leishman and Jason Day.

Lefty and Kisner got off to a hot start and were plus-three through seven holes. Leishman and Day fought back and won four straight holes to take the lead. 

The Australian team was up by one going into the 17th hole, but an untimely bogey allowed Mickelson to sink a par putt and square the match. 

The Americans had a chance to win the match on the final hole as Leishman and Day closed with another bogey. Mickelson had a seven-footer for a par that would have secured the victory, but that putt burned the edge and the two teams had to shake hands after their all-square match.  

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