Golf: Lahiri-Thongchai lose their match as Americans take handy lead in Presidents Cup

Incheon (Korea): It was not the most ideal of starts for the Internationals as they lagged 1-4 against the United States after the opening day's foursome event in the Presidents Cup golf tournament on Thursday.

The Internationals have won only once in past 10 editions and tied another time and it will be a tough ask for them to make a comeback from a 1-4 deficit.

From the moment, the first pair of India's Anirban Lahiri and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand lost their match 5&4 to a sizzling Rickie Fowler and consistent Jimmy Walker, the Internationals were always on the back foot, barring when the South African duo, Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen, took out Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed 3&2.

 Golf: Lahiri-Thongchai lose their match as Americans take handy lead in Presidents Cup

File picture of Anirban Lahiri. AFP

In the other matches, Bubba Watson and JB Holmes, who started of this year's event, beat Adam Scott and a badly out-of-form Hideki Matsuyama 3&2, while the star pairing of ordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson convincingly rode over Danny Lee and Marc Leishman 3&2.

Lahiri and Matsuyama will sit out for Friday's Fourballs, while the Americans have kept their only losing duo, Reed and Kuchar out and brought in Bill Haas and Chris Kirk.

With a huge crowd thronging the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club for the first-ever Presidents Cup in Asia, the only match to go the wire today was when veteran Phil Mickelson holed from the bunker once and then held his nerve to beat Jason Day and Steve Bowditch 2-up on 18th. Day did stretch the match to the 18th with a really long putt for birdie on 17th, but other than that he seemed a little flat.

Price said, "For us, it's a difficult format because there's very few people who know each other well, you know what I'm saying. Thongchai and Anirban predominately play The European Tour; Louis and Charl play there a little bit, as does Branden. But you're still a little limited as to who you can put with who. Also, there's a little bit of a language barrier."

Rookies Lahiri and Thongchai struggled through the day and barely made a putt.

Lahiri admitted, "We didn't make a single birdie in 14 holes, and we hit 13 fairways. I mean, we only missed one fairway on 10 and we hit every fairway apart from that but did not make a birdie. So that tells you that we didn't putt well, and that's what you need."

Thongchai, despite being a rookie, is the oldest player in the International team. He said, "Rickie putted so well. He holed (from) everywhere. In this format you have to putt well. You can't miss anything. We had a lot of mistakes today with the putter."

Lahiri echoed saying, "I think both Thongchai and me were nowhere close to our best."

On Fowler, Lahiri said, "He putted great all day. If I'm not mistaken, he must have made about six or seven one-putts today, and none of them were inside of ten feet. Maybe eight or ten foot was probably the shortest of those seven that he made."

Later Lahiri, who was rooting for the other pairs, added, "I was out there rooting for my teammates. That is the spirit in which we play this week. Unfortunately I didn't play my best today, and hopefully I come up with my 'A' game whenever I'm asked to."

International Team captain, Price admitted, 'Obviously today was a really tough day for us. I think some of the guys on the team were a little nervous, which is to be expected. But the US Team played really well today. There were a lot of birdies made out there. Hit a lot of great shots, made a lot of putts. So a tough day for us."

"(But) We still have another 25 points left out there. I told my team, 'Don't worry about where we stand right now. There's still, as I say, a long way to go.' Just to keep their chins up and do the best they can tomorrow."

Haas, the US captain said, "I think the team room has got a good feeling. Obviously it was a great start for us, but I think they all realize it's a long series right now. Kind of like shooting a low round in the first round of a tournament; there's a lot of golf to be played. So I don't think that anybody's getting too giddy.

On Mickelson, who was a controversial pick, Haas added, "I was real proud of him. I told him so. He's dealt with pressure before, obviously, in many situations. Being a pick this time probably added to it a little bit. I'm happy for him with the way he responded. I thought, well, all four shots at 18 were amazing, but I thought Phil's drive at 18 was a big statement for him personally."

Results: Foursomes: (First named winners): Watson/ Holmes (U.S.) bt Scott/ Matsuyama (International), 3&2 Oosthuizen/ Grace (Int'l) bt Kuchar/ Reed, 3 & 2 Fowler/ Walker (U.S.) bt Lahiri/Thongchai, 5 & 4 Mickelson/Z Johnson (U.S.) b Day/ Bowditch, 2-up Spieth/D Johnson (U.S.) bt Lee/ Leishman, 4 & 3.

PTI

Updated Date: Oct 08, 2015 16:52:01 IST