INCHEON, South Korea (AP) Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson won the only match that reached the 18th hole Thursday, the final touch on another dominant day for the Americans in the Presidents Cup.
The rest of the foursomes matches were not much of a contest as the Americans built a 4-1 lead. It was the fifth straight time they have taken the lead in the opening round of this one-sided contest, and the three-point lead was their largest margin since they had a four-point lead in 2007 in Canada.
The Americans are going for their sixth straight victory and, after one day at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, there was a familiar feel to the event.
The South African duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace won the only match for the International side, beating Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed 3 and 2.
Even so, this was another strong display by the U.S., which never trailed in the other four matches and has lost only one time in the Presidents Cup since it began in 1994.
Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker topped India’s Anirban Lahiri and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee 5 and 4.
Jordan Spieth, the No. 1 player in the world, and Dustin Johnson proved as formidable as advertised in a 4-and-3 win over New Zealand’s Danny Lee and Australia’s Marc Leishman. Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes, two of the longest hitters in golf, beat Australia’s Adam Scott and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama 3 and 2.
Jason Day and Australian compatriot Steven Bowditch were 2 down to Mickelson and Zach Johnson with two holes to play when Day poured in a 40-foot birdie putt to send the match to the 18th. Bowditch hit a long iron to about 18 feet for an eagle chance, though Mickelson pounded his tee shot so far that Johnson was able to stick his approach to 10 feet. Day narrowly missed the eagle putt, and conceded the eagle to the Americans for a 2-up win. Mickelson, who has never missed a Presidents Cup, tied a tournament record with his 11th foursomes victory. Tiger Woods also has 11 foursomes wins.
There are five fourballs matches Friday.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Alison Lee shot a 6-under 65 for a share of the first-round lead with China’s Xi Yu Lin in the LPGA Malaysia, the American’s first event since her emotional Solheim Cup debut.
Lee birdied five of the first eight holes at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, and added birdies on Nos. 12 and 14. The 20-year-old UCLA student bogeyed the par-3 17th and – after rain and lightning delayed play more than three hours – got up-and-down for par on the par-4 18th.
In the Solheim Cup last month in Germany, Lee was in tears after Suzann Pettersen called for the American to be penalized for picking up her ball when she mistakenly thought a short putt had been conceded in the completion of a fourballs match. Infuriated, the U.S. rallied to beat Europe in the biggest comeback in event history, with Lee winning her singles match.
Lin three-putted the 18th for her only bogey.
Michelle Wie was a stroke back along with defending champion Shanshan Feng, Yani Tseng and Chella Choi. Finally over hip and ankle injuries, Wie had eight birdies and three bogeys.
WOBURN, England (AP) – England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick birdied the final two holes for a 7-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the British Masters.
The 21-year-old Fitzpatrick had an eagle, six birdies and a bogey on Woburn’s Marquess Course. He won the 2013 U.S Amateur.
Scotland’s Marc Warren, England’s Lee Slattery, Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson were tied for second. Ian Poulter, hosting the tournament at his home course, had a 68.
VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Sammy Schmitz won the U.S. Mid-Amateur to earn a Masters invitation, making a hole-in-one on the 260-yard, par-4 33rd hole in a 3-and-2 victory over Marc Dull at John’s Island Club.
The 35-year-old Schmitz is a reinstated amateur from Farmington, Minnesota, who works as a regional director for a health care services company. He played at St. John’s University in Minnesota.
The 29-year-old Dull, from Lakeland, Florida, also is a reinstated amateur. He played at Florida Southern and works as a caddie at Streamsong Resort.
The event is limited to players 25 and older.
U.S. WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR
CHOUDRANT, La. (AP) – Lauren Greenlief won the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, beating defending champion Margaret Shirley 2 and 1 at Squire Creek.
The 25-year-old Greenlief, from Oakton, Virginia, became the youngest winner in the history of the event limited to players 25 and older. The former University of Virginia player is a management consultant for The Boston Consulting Group.
The 29-year-old Shirley, from Roswell, Georgia, was making her third straight appearance in the final. She lost to Julia Potter in 2013 at Biltmore Forest in North Carolina, then beat Potter last year at Harbour Trees in Indiana. The former Auburn player is the executive director of Atlanta Junior Golf.