The United States wrapped up victory in the Presidents Cup, with Xander Schauffele’s point against Corey Conners getting Davis Love III’s side over the line against the Internationals.
The Internationals raised hope of an unlikely turnaround when winning Saturday’s afternoon fourballs 3-1 to cut the deficit to 11-7 going into the singles.
It was always likely to be a tall order for Trevor Immelman’s side, and that proved to be the case as wins for Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau and Schauffele, and a half for Sam Burns secured the points to take them to the 15.5 threshold for victory.
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The Internationals were weakened by defections to LIV Golf, but those who made the team in North Carolina did enough to suggest there is life in the Presidents Cup despite the USA extending their winning sequence to nine.
There were bits of gold on the scoreboard early on Sunday, as Cam Davis and Hideki Matsuyama raced into leads against Spieth and Burns respectively.
Taylor Pendrith raced out early against Finau, and when Sungjae Im surged into the lead against Cameron Young, momentum was with the Internationals and there was pressure on the home side.
Day 4 Singles: USA 17.5 (6.5) - 12.5 (5.5) Internationals
- Justin Thomas 1Up Si Woo Kim
- Jordan Spieth 4&3 Cam Davis
- Sam Burns Halved Hideki Matsuyama
- Patrick Cantlay 3&2 Adam Scott
- Scottie Scheffler 2&1 Sebastian Munoz
- Tony Finau 3&1 Taylor Pendrith
- Xander Schauffele 1Up Corey Conners
- Cameron Young 1Up Sungjae Im
- Billy Horschel 3&1 KH Lee
- Max Homa 1Up Tom Kim
- Collin Morikawa 3&2 Mito Pereira
- Kevin Kisner 2&1 Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Justin Thomas, having led by two early, was extremely annoyed to be asked to putt from two feet by Si Woo Kim on the ninth - and promptly lost the next two holes.
For a moment, the Internationals' dream was alive - but Burns, the king of the long putts this week, raised the decibel level with a massive putt to win a hole against Matsuyama.
The course had gone deathly quiet for 25 minutes, but Burns’ putter sparked Quail Hollow to life and things began to happen for Love III’s USA.
Spieth had never before won a singles match in Presidents Cup play, but he set that record straight with a stirring run either side of the turn. He trailed by two to Cam Davis after three holes, but the American won four on the spin and closed it out on the 15th, which was fitting given the hole had been so kind to him all week.
As well as being Spieth’s first singles win, it also ensured he went a perfect five out of five for the week.
“I had a great back nine,” Spieth said. “I ran off three straight birdies and kept hitting greens. It feels good.
“I was more nervous than I probably should have been, I wanted to get that monkey off my back, and it feels great.”
Spieth’s partner in the fourballs and foursomes, Thomas, had a battle down the back nine with Si Woo Kim, with both producing brilliant golf. With the pair all square down the last, both fired their approaches to 10 feet. Si Woo drained his; Thomas slipped by to get a point on the board for the Internationals.
The excellent Sebastian Munoz beat world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler to send shockwaves through the US camp, but the ever-impressive Finau closed out Taylor Pendrith on the 17th and Schauffele beat Conners on the 18th to clinch the cup.
Collin Morikawa and Max Homa put some gloss on a 17.5-12.5 scoreline with wins towards the bottom of the board, the latter beating the rising star Tom Kim, but USA were given a huge scare to show that there is life in the Presidents Cup.
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