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U.S. continues to dominate in Presidents Cup

INCHEON, South Korea — The Presidents Cup wasn't an hour old when Nick Price looked at the scoreboard and had that sinking feeling.

It was filled with American red.

And there wasn't much Price or the International team could do about it Thursday in an opening session that ended just like so many others in this one-sided affair.

Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson capped off a performance that was as businesslike as their handshakes, and the Americans had a 4-1 lead after foursomes in which they never trailed in any match except the one they lost.

"A tough day for us," Price said. "Having said that, we are only five points into 30. We still have another 25 points left out there. So we've got a long way to go, and that's that I told my team. Just to keep their chins up and do the best they can (today)."

The International team was adamant that the number of matches be reduced — it was lowered from 34 to 30 — to keep it a close contest. After one day, maybe having one less match Thursday helped. It could have been worse.

The Americans, who have lost the Cup only one time since it began in 1994 and are going for their sixth straight win, had a lead after the opening session for the fifth straight time. The margin was their largest since a four-point lead in 2007.

That makes the five matches of fourballs today even more critical.

U.S. captain Jay Haas put Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson in the first match, followed by Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker. "He's going for the kill," Price said. "If we get momentum going, it can change things."

All the momentum belonged to the Americans on Thursday.

Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes ran off four straight birdies early in their match against Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama, and that set the tone. They wound up winning a tight match when Scott and Matsuyama missed key putts and ended it on the 16th hole.

"That was my whole goal," Watson said. "Get out there fast, change the color so the other guys see that and it sparks them going forward."

Watson and Holmes didn't deliver the first point. That came from Fowler and Walker, who picked up their first win as a team, 5 and 4 over India's Anirban Lahiri and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.

The lone International win came from Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace of South Africa, who took advantage of some sloppy play by Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed in a 3-and-2 victory.

LPGA: Alison Lee shot 6-under 65 to share the first-round lead with China's Xi Yu Lin in the LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur, the 20-year-old American's first event since her emotional Solheim Cup debut. Lee birdied five of the first eight holes and added birdies on Nos. 12 and 14. Michelle Wie was a stroke back along with Shanshan Feng, Yani Tseng and Chella Choi. In the Solheim Cup last month in Germany, Lee was in tears after Team Europe's 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. team rallied to win in the biggest comeback in event history.

U.S. continues to dominate in Presidents Cup 10/08/15 [Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2015 9:34pm]
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