September 26, 2022

Xander Schauffele holed the winning putt as the United States retained the Presidents Cup with a dominant 17½-12½ win over the International team at Quail Hollow Country Club in South Carolina.

The US led 11-7 going into the 10 singles matches on Sunday, but lost the first match when Si Woo Kim beat Justin Thomas by one hole. However, needing 15½ points for victory, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau then won their matches, while Sam Burns earned a half point to take them within one point of victory.  Schauffele sealed the win when holding off Corey Conners by one hole.

The home side’s victory was its ninth in a row and gives the USA a 12-1 overall lead in the event, with one match tied.

“It feels good to win,” said Schauffele, whose form throughout the matches was somewhat scratchy. “It got really close there for a little bit. Winning is winning and there are no pictures on the scorecard.” 

US captain Davis Love added: “They played great. It was hard. They put in a lot of effort the last three weeks. They came in ready to go.”

Having lost his previous eight singles matches in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, Spieth was in superb form throughout the week at quail Hollow, producing a 100% record from his five matches, and he got the US team back on track with a 4&3 win against Australian Cameron Davis.

“I was extra nervous,” he said. “I wanted to get that monkey off my back. They are looking for red on the board and it feels really good to finally provide that. You can’t put a price on this. I did as much as I could this week.”

Burns tied his match with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, while Cantlay beat Australian Adam Scott 3&2.  Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz beat world number one Scottie Scheffler 2&1 to make it 13½-9½ and it started to get close with several International players up in their matches.

However, the US side’s superior putting was the difference between the teams and Finau’s 3&1 win against Canadian Taylor Pendrith moved the US one point from their target before Schauffele made sure of it with a solid par putt at the last.

There were contrasting fortunes for two South Koreans. Sungjae Im saw off Cameron Young, likely to be an American stalwart for years to come, by one hole while Tom Kim – hero of Saturday’s fightback – was edged out on the 18th by Max Homa. Another South Korean, KH Lee, was an impressive 3&1 winner against Billy Horschel as the International team played for pride after the match had been won.

In the final two matches, Chile’s Mito Pereira was comfortably beaten by Collin Morikakwa, but South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout finished off with a point for the Internationals against Kevin Kisner.

“We’re a little disappointed,” International captain Trevor Immelman said. “We believed in ourselves. We had an amazing week. They were fighting. These guys have massive hearts. I’ll go into battle with them any day.”

The result was all the more impressive from Immelman ‘s point of view given that the International team featured eight rookies and was missing many of its top players because of defections to LIV Golf. Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman were all absent due to the PGA TOUR, which manages the Presidents Cup, banning players who had signed for the Saudi-backed tour. The Americans were without Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, although the US side still contained 10 of the world’s top 16-ranked players. 

Zach Johnson will lead the US side when they attempt to retain the Ryder Cup against Europe at Marco Simone in Rome in a year’s time.

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