CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cameron Young didn’t flinch in his first Presidents Cup.
So did Max Houma.
They’re one of the new bloodlines on the US team and made the most of their chances on an alternative shot play on Thursday, scoring a point to help the Americans lead the international team 4-1 at Quail Hollow. .
Young made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th hole and teamed with Colin Morikawa to close out Tom Kim and KH Lee 2-1.
Homa and Tony Finau won a close race by making par on the 18th hole after Mito Pereira hooked his drive into a tree. The 1-up win was the final points of the day for the Americans and boosted their confidence heading into a better ball game on Friday.
“Well, to see the look on their faces when they finished the game and scored a point, off to a great start,” said US captain Davis Love III. “They told me over and over that they wanted to play for this team, and it was great to get out and score points right away.”
Young said he doesn’t usually get nervous on the first tee, but he was nervous on Thursday.
The 25-year-old regained his composure after making birdie putts on the 6th and 9th holes. They were set by a powerful approach shot from Morikawa, who had shined in last year’s Ryder Cup but was in the first match of the Presidents Cup.
“Having Colin as a partner definitely takes the pressure off because I think I can get an 8-foot or 10-foot birdie for a birdie, especially if I can get it on the fairway,” says Young. said.
When Young took his final putt on the 17th, his main goal was to keep him from going over the hole.
“In the back of my mind, I thought it was about winning the game,” Young said. “But it wasn’t the kind of putt that you’re really trying to make. The distance up here is hard just to get close. So I was really trying to hit a putt that was consistent with how I hit it all day. .
“Sometimes they come in,” he added.
After the putt, Young let his emotions out and pumped his fist as the United States led 3-0.
“It was really cool to win first,” Young said.
Homa also said he was nervous at first, but settled down to play alongside the more experienced and easy-going Tony Finau.
“No. More people,” Homa said of the international competition. “Whenever I have a partner, the kind of tension changes a little bit.
That was never true on the 15th, where Homa’s approach shot from a fairway bunker hit rocks along the left side of the green and missed the creek.
However, Finau’s recovery shot came within 10 feet of the hole and Homa sank a par putt to keep the game even. Even though Taylor Pendrith and Pereira also made par, they walked together to the next tee feeling like they had won the hole.
“Tony told me at 16, it makes us feel alive. ‘That was a big comeback. That draw felt like a win.'”
In the international division, Cameron Davis was the only Presidents Cup rookie to score points. He and Si Woo Kim won his last four holes, coming from behind to win Scotty Scheffler and Sam Barnes with his two-up.
There is no doubt that the departure of LIV Golf has had an impact on the Presidents Cup, especially on the international front.
Eleven of the 20 players who appeared on Thursday had played in their first Presidents Cup, but players like Schaeffler and Morikawa have already built some impressive resumes. The international side lacks heavyweights like Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann and Louis Oosthuizen, all of whom were ineligible to participate and play in the Saudi-funded LIV series. .
Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, who were members of last year’s US Ryder Cup winning team, have moved to LIV. Johnson probably would have made the team, but Koepka and DeChambeau were well below the points list, partly because of their injuries.
Either way, Young and Homa’s strong performances are another indicator of how well American golf is doing, with all 12 players on the team in the top 25 in the world rankings.
“I’m proud of them all, but I’m especially proud of these two,” said Love.
Other AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports