Presidents Cup 2022: Power pairing Cantlay and Schauffele sends resounding message on Day 1

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CHARLOTTE — Xander Schauffele said Wednesday that he and Patrick Cantlay needed to make a statement on Day 1 at the Presidents Cup. International team captain Trevor Immelman had chosen his highest-profile pairing—Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama—for the first match of Thursday’s foursomes session.

That message was delivered in the form of a 6-and-5 thrashing of Scott and Matsuyama and couldn’t have been clearer: the 2022 Presidents Cup is going exactly how Team USA wants it to go.

“I told the guys last night we needed to set the tone … and we did,” Schauffele said after defeating Scott and Matsuyama on the 13th hole at Quail Hollow. “Playing this format on a day like today and not making any bogeys, it’s exactly what we needed.”

Cantlay and Schauffele set their intentions early. Matsuyama and Scott were full of errors and poor swings but scraped out halves on the first two holes. But they bogeyed to lose No. 3, then the Americans rattled off three straight birdies starting at the par-4 fifth to go four up. The International duo clawed back some momentum when they made birdie No. 8 to win the hole, and at the par-3 10th Matsuyama hit his tee shot to six feet while the Americans were 23 feet away. But Scott missed their birdie and Schauffele decided to put the foot down. They made three pars to Scott and Matsuyama’s three straight bogeys.

“We expected them to come on strong and we got lucky there on 10,” Schauffele said. “That could have been a big one, but they missed. We used that to give us some momentum to finish off this match.”

Schauffele and Cantlay added a postscript to that message: their partnership in foursomes is truly a force for the U.S. team. Their victory Thursday meant Cantlay and Schauffele are undefeated together in the alternate-shot format. They are 5-0-0, which includes two foursomes matches at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne and last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Cantlay and Schauffele also teamed up to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April, which uses foursomes.

“We definitely love these events and love playing with each other,” Cantlay said of his close friend and fellow California native Schauffele. “We get along, first of all. But now we’ve played [alternate shot] so many times that we feel comfortable. I was saying that on the first hole, even though it’s alternate shot, it feels totally normal. I think that’s an advantage for us in this format.”

Added Schauffele: “It’s just a lot of fun for us to do this.”

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