Presidents Cup: Team USA enjoy unbeaten fourballs session to move 8-2 ahead of International Team
Davis Love III's United States team won three and tied two fourballs matches in an unbeaten session against the International Team, extending their lead on home soil; Watch day three live on Saturday from midday on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 24/09/22 11:59pm
Team USA extended their Presidents Cup lead after edging a tightly contested Fridays fourballs session against the International Team at Quail Hollow.
The United States, chasing a ninth consecutive victory in the biennial contest and leading 4-1 after the opening-day foursomes, won two and halved two of the five matches on Friday afternoon to build an 8-2 advantage over their inexperienced opponents.
Justin Thomas became the first player in Presidents Cup history to win his opening five fourballs matches after partnering Jordan Spieth to a 2&1 victory over Adam Scott and Cam Davis, before Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele defeated Tom Kim and Hideki Matsuyama 3&2.
Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns squandered a lead for the second successive day to claim a share of the spoils against Sungjae Im and Sebastian Munoz, with the other two matches also requiring all 18 holes to produce a result.
Rookies Mito Pereira and Christiaan Bezuidenhout halved their match against Kevin Kisner and Cameron Young, although the visitors fell further behind when Max Homa and Billy Horschel claimed a final-hole win over Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith in the last match on the course.
The six-point lead matches the same advantage Team USA held after two days of the 2017 contest at Liberty National, with the overwhelming pre-tournament favourites now requiring just 7.5 points over the final two days to continue their dominant winning Presidents Cup record.
How Team USA extended their lead
Thomas won back-to-back holes with birdies from the fourth and Spieth picked up another after holing from close-range at the eighth, only for Scott to claim the ninth and reduce the deficit to two at the turn.
A near hole-in-one from Thomas at the par-three 14th restored Team USA's three-hole cushion and, despite a birdie from Davis at the par-five 16th, Spieth secured the first point of the day with a 20-foot birdie on the penultimate hole.
Schauffele holed from 30 feet on both the third and fifth before Cantlay made back-to-back birdies from the seventh, with Schauffele adding another close-range birdie at the eighth to move five ahead.
Kim reduced the deficit by winning the 12th with a birdie but fell back five behind when Cantlay rolled in from long range at the next, with the Korean extending the contest with successive birdies from the 14th before eventually losing on the par-five 16th.
"I think hot starts are really big to match play to get the momentum on your side and force opponents to do something to catch back up," Cantlay said. "I think getting out to a lead in match play is huge, and we did a great job of that today."
A session clean sweep looked a possibility when Scheffler and Burns - who made an 80-foot eagle at the seventh - were two ahead with six holes to play, only for Munoz to birdie the 13th and 17th to level the contest.
Scheffler then missed a 10-foot birdie chance for the win on the final hole, having also lost a two-hole lead over the closing stretch in the foursomes, with the Internationals adding another half-point when Pereira and Bezuidenhout tied their closely-contested match with Kisner and Young.
Hopes of a first full point of the day for the International Team were increased when Conners followed a birdie at the 11th by holing from 30 feet at the 13th, levelling the final match, only for Homa to make a 15-foot birdie at the 17th and match Pendrith's putt at the last to snatch another USA victory.
Four more matches of both formats will be played across two sessions on Saturday, before all 24 players then compete in singles matches on the final day. A total of 30 points are available across the four days.
Watch the Presidents Cup throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Saturday from midday on Sky Sports Golf.