America gained the upper hand from the opening day of the Presidents Cup after winning the tournament’s first session for the sixth successive time.
Despite Phil Mickelson missing a chance for victory by spurning an eight-foot putt on the 18th at the Liberty National, the USA still forged a 3.5 – 1.5 lead after a wind-affected foursomes session on Thursday.
The only positive for the International team was a victory for Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, who maintained their 100 per cent record as Presidents Cup partners.
FedEx Cup champion Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler routed Charl Schwartzel and Hideki Matsuyama, despite the international pair going ahead with a birdie at the par-five second.
However, Thomas and Fowler won five of the next seven to go four up at the turn, with a birdie at the 12th and then two pars seeing them secure a 6&4 win.
The USA then went 2-0 up after Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were dominant against rookies Si-Woo Kim and Emiliano Grillo – the international pair making just two birdies in a 5&4 defeat.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar edged out Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas one up after the latter pair were unable to win the final hole.
Grace and Oosthuizen secured a hard-fought 2&1 win over Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka to keep the international team in touching distance after Mickelson and Kevin Kisner finished all-square against Marc Leishman and Jason Day.
Oosthuizen said: "Today was a grind. It was just one of those, keep it in play – fight, fight until the end."
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