By Steve Keating
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) – International captain Trevor Immelman vowed to fight on in the Presidents Cup, shaking up his lineup for the opening fourballs after a rampaging United States humbled them 4-1 in the foursome (alternate shot) on Thursday.
While Immelman mixed up his pairings for Friday’s action at Quail Hollow Club, U.S. captain Davis Love III happily stuck with most of the partnerships that took his team to a commanding lead.
“Like Trevor said, there’s a long way to go,” said Love. “So we just got to stay on our plan and keep trying to just win every match and win every session and let the outcome take care of itself.”
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who thumped the hugely experienced International duo of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama 6&5 in Thursday’s opening match to set the tone for the U.S. team, will be back together for fourballs. This time they will take on Matsuyama, the Masters champion from Japan, and South Korean young gun Kim Joo-hyung.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who beat South Korea’s Im Sung-jae and Canadian Corey Conners 2&1, go out again to face the Australian partnership of Scott, playing in his 10th Presidents Cup, and Cam Davis.
The U.S. captain showed faith in the pairing of world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, even though they registered the only day-one loss for the Americans after dropping the final four holes to allow Davis and South Korea’s Kim Si-woo to snatch a 2-up win.
Scheffler and Burns will try to make amends when they meet Im Sung-jae and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz in the fourball.
Other matches will see South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout come off the bench after sitting out the foursome and partner with Chile’s Mito Pereira against Kevin Kisner and Cameron Young. The all-Canadian pair of Taylor Pendrith and Conners will face Billy Horschel and Max Homa.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” Immelman said. “It’s what we do.
“Nobody here expects us to win. We’ve got to have that belief deep down.
“We’re up against maybe the strongest American team ever assembled on paper.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us, but like I said, we’ll keep going, man.
“We’ll keep going until they ring the bell.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Charlotte. Editing by Richard Pullin)
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