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Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas Roll to Day 1 Win at 2019 Presidents Cup

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 12, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 12: Playing Captain Tiger Woods of the United States team and Justin Thomas of the United States team celebrate defeating Marc Leishman of Australia and the International team and Joaquin Niemann of Chile and the International team 4&3 on the 15th green during Thursday four-ball matches on day one of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course on December 12, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas put the United States on the Presidents Cup's board first with a 4-and-3 four-ball win over Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann on Day 1 Wednesday at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

The first @PresidentsCup point goes to the #USTeam. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ @TigerWoods and @JustinThomas34 close out the first match of the day, winning 4 and 3. https://t.co/aB72wJiEJb

Woods, who is the United States team captain, shined in this competition. He earned the best ball six times over 15 holes compared to two each for Thomas, Niemann and Leishman.

The 15-time major winner got his team off to an excellent start with birdies on the first two holes. A great drive and approach led to a two-foot birdie putt on No. 1, and he knocked in a six-footer on the par-five second hole to put USA 2-up through two.

The USA and International sides went back and forth until the 14th hole, but Woods' chip on the fifth from 37 feet proved to be the shot of the day:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Go get that, @JustinThomas34! @TigerWoods chips in on No. 5. 😱 #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/0y3kv9VP8i

He also launched a perfect up-and-down to win the 11th:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Sound up. πŸ”Š @TigerWoods with the perfect up-and-down. https://t.co/t1nV9noRMR

Woods put the round away soon afterward.

With the U.S. leading 2-up, Woods launched a beautiful tee shot on the par-three 14th to within nine feet of the pin. He knocked home the birdie for the 3-up advantage.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

The tee shot. 🎯 The putt. πŸ•³οΈ The fist pump. πŸ‘Š @TigerWoods' fifth individual birdie of the day has his pair 3 UP with 4 holes to go. https://t.co/iMsnmKgoay

Woods then wrapped up the win with a five-foot birdie on the par-five 15th.

Although the day went quite well for Woods and Thomas, it did not go smoothly for the rest of Team USA. The other four American four-ball pairings lost their matches to International teams, putting USA in a 4-1 hole into Day 2.

Per the Golf Channel broadcast, the leader after the first Presidents' Cup session has won the competition each time barring 2005, when Team USA overcame a one-point deficit to beat the International team. This year marks the 13th edition of the Presidents' Cup, which began in 1994.

The format will switch to foursomes for the second session. Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com explained the format.

"Two-golfer teams representing each country square off against each other," Porter wrote. "This time, however, the players have to switch off hitting the same ball until it rolls in the cup. Players have to switch off hitting tee shots no matter who made the putt on the previous hole. Scoring is still match-play style."

The Golf Channel will carry foursomes coverage Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight ET.