23 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |
Debutant Davis secures International’s lone point
by Dane Heverin
A brilliant fightback from debutant Cameron Davis and his playing partner Si Woo Kim secured the International Team’s only point as the Americans dominated day one to lead the Presidents Cup 4-1 at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.
Davis and Kim never led until they were walking to the 18th tee as the Australian and the South Korean made a late charge to defeat world number one Scottie Scheffler and four-time PGA Tour winner Sam Burns two-up.
The Americans’ lead grew to three-up after seven holes as a nervy Davis fought hard to settle into the match, but the International pairing’s game began to click throughout the back nine and they surged from two-down after 14 holes to win the final four holes and secure a point.
“Early on, I was just a little shaky and nervous, my first time experiencing this,” Davis said.
“It took me a little while for me to find my rhythm. To be honest, for most of the round, we started hitting fairways, green, fairways, greens. Si Woo's putts were just burning the hole over and over again. It was just a matter of time until we got it in.
“To be honest, we kept on doing what we were doing. We both got into a place where we started feeling comfortable. Right when it became really important, it started going in. Super, super great feeling.”
After winning the 15th and 16th with a par and a birdie to level things up, Davis’ second shot on the 17th opened up the door to victory as he stuck it within tap in range for birdie.
“I had a perfect number,” Davis said.
“It was one of those shots where it was like get out of your way. You've got a flag sitting up there on the green. Just hit it.
“That was the first shot of the day that came off exactly as I wanted, and it was a great time for that to happen because we needed that one. One to get ahead for the first time and keep playing positively and aggressively on 18. It was really cool, felt awesome.”
The Sydneysider is no stranger to success in team competition - he was prolific as an amateur as part of Australia’s 2016 Eisenhower Cup winning team - and he said earlier in the week that he feels that a team environment brings out the best in him.
His confidence has only grown from being able to start his Presidents Cup journey in such a strong fashion.
“It's always more satisfying when you start off not having your best stuff and then you find a way to turn it around, especially against the caliber of players that are playing here,” Davis said.
“I was just really proud of the way I started hitting good shots when it mattered, and I was really proud of the way Soo started getting the putts at perfect speed, and we started getting some.
“It was great to see that. Really proud as a team and individually that we managed to get it done.”
Adam Scott paired up with fellow Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama on the opening day and two most experienced players on the International Team were comprehensively beaten 6&5 by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
Cantlay and Schauffele are undefeated together in the alternate-shot format having played together at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne and last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits - they also won the Zurich Classic of New Orlean together in April - and Scott and Matsuyama were only able to win one hole for the match against the formidable pair.
Australian fans can now look forward to Scott and Davis partnering up to take on Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the second round four-ball.
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