Shot-by-shot recap: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas win four-ball match at Presidents Cup

Shot-by-shot recap: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas win four-ball match at Presidents Cup

2019 Presidents Cup

Shot-by-shot recap: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas win four-ball match at Presidents Cup

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Presidents Cup playing captain Tiger Woods led the Americans out the gate in the first match of this year’s event at Royal Melbourne, teaming up with Justin Thomas for Day One’s four-ball matches.

Woods and Thomas, who were paired together for three of the four rounds in the Bahamas last week at the Hero World Challenge, took on the International squad’s Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann at 5:32 p.m. ET.

This is Woods’ ninth appearance for Team USA (his first since 2013) and Thomas’ second. After a 4 and 3 win, Thomas improved to 3-0 in the four-ball format, while Woods is now 8-9.

Check out the opening match with shot-by-shot analysis of the opening match in Australia.

PRESIDENTS CUP: Viewers guideBest photos | Scores
MEET THE TEAMS: Team USA | Internationals

Hole 15 – Par 5

Tiger’s drive found the fairway and his second comes up short, and he’s a bit confused as to why. Similar to his short approach earlier on the front nine. He goes with putter from there and races past the hole, leaving some meat on the bone. JT missed for birdie and Tiger had a five footer to end the match and he does just that. Time to put the captain’s hat on.

Match: Woods/Thomas win 4 and 3.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-1-1.

Hole 14 – Par 3

8-iron lands about 50 feet short and bounces up inside ten feet. Mr. Captain is carrying this match. I’ll say it again: Mr. Captain is carrying this match. Birdie putt. Canned it. Cruising. 3 up, 4 to play.

Match: Woods/Thomas 3 up thru 14.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-1-1.

Hole 13 – Par 4

Tiger and JT were safely in the fairway (Big Cat clubbed down to an iron) and after Tiger found the center of the green with his approach, JT went pin-seeking and came up five feet short of the hole for a great look at birdie. Tiger almost made this one from distance as it curled towards the hole at the last second but didn’t have the pace to get there. Tie. Moving on.

Match: Woods/Thomas 2 up thru 13.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-1-1.

Hole 12 – Par 4

Big miss here for the Big Cat off the tee. Tee shot goes left on the beaten down/sandy rough area, and from there he gets some clean contact and finds the green. Didn’t get a good look at exactly how far away he is, but let’s say 20-30 feet? Sounds good? Good. Uphill put from about 25 feet (nailed it) just misses the edge and that’s a tap-in par. Leishman makes a huge putt and cuts into the lead.

Match: Woods/Thomas 2 up thru 12.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-1-1.

Hole 11 – Par 4

It’s almost like Tiger was aiming for the bunker here at the 11th. Judging by his out from the trap, he might’ve been. Tiger could not have hit this one any more pure from the sand and his ball comes to rest inside five feet. That’s a birdie for Team USA and an extended lead. Woods and Thomas are the only American teams currently winning. Not good for the red, white and blue.

Match: Woods/Thomas 3 up thru 11.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-1-1.

Hole 10 – Par 4

All four players here missed the fairway, with Tiger going right into a sandy/rough area. Tough to explain that lie other than “meh, not great.” His effort from there, however, was about as good as you can do at this course. Center of the green, safely putting for birdie. Par could win this hole depending how the other approaches go. Pars across the board. Moving on.

Match: Woods/Thomas 2 up thru 10.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-2.

Hole 9 – Par 4

Smoked it off the tee down the right side with driver and his approach lands like a rock and release to just outside 20 feet for birdie. With a tucked-away pin to the left, this was a perfect shot. JT hit an incredible shot from the sand path, under a tree, to just about 15 feet for birdie. He two-putts for par and takes the club out of Woods’ hand and the boys from the states make the turn 2 up.

Match: Woods/Thomas 2 up thru 9.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-2.

Hole 8 – Par 4

Fairway once again at No. 8 and then goes a little long on the approach, much different from the last hole. His lag putt from there was b-e-a-utiful, making a last second dip towards the hole before checking up to gimme range. The Americans make par, as do the Internationals, and we have the first tie of the match!

Match: Woods/Thomas 1 up thru 8.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-2.

Hole 7 – Par 4

Well this was … well this was bad. The Big Cat found the green but then his approach was way short. In fact it was short of short. Wind? Mishit? Bad club choice? Chunk? Whatever it was, it was straight but definitely short of the green. Chip from there wasn’t bad, rolling out to about six or so feet for a par save. That said, the Internationals have a chance at birdie. No dice for the Internationals, leaving JT and TW putts for par to tie the hole. Remember, we don’t say halve anymore! JT misses as does Tiger. Yikes.

Match: Woods/Thomas 1 up thru 7.
Overall: Internationals lead 2-1-2.

Hole 6 – Par 4

Nothing much to see here at the short No. 6 besides a Niemann birdie. Tiger and JT had pretty ho-hum pars while the 21-year-old Chilean up-and-comer announced his presence with authority. He had dreamed of playing with and against Tiger Woods his whole life, and there he just beat him. How about that.

Match: Woods/Thomas 2 up thru 6.
Overall: Internationals lead 3-1-1.

Hole 5 – Par 3

Attacking pins off the tee will be tough at Royal Melbourne, as seen with Tiger’s tee shot here at No. 5. He finds the dance floor, then the ball runs towards a bunker, then takes a slight turn and just as it looks as if he’ll stay on the green, his ball runs off into the rough between two greenside bunkers. Get used to shots like this all week, folks. YAHTZEE! Tiger hits a bump-and-run up the slope and right into the cup. Who needs a putter, anyways? JT scoops his ball from the hole and after a Leishman miss from 20 feet the Americans extend the lead.

Match: Woods/Thomas 3 up thru 5.
Overall: Internationals lead 2-1-2.

Hole 4 – Par 4

The struggles continue for JT while Tiger paints the fairway here at No. 4. Good thing Tiger had that fusion surgery (get it?! Because he’s carrying the match?!). Handful of birdie chances await the group, with Leishman and JT considerably closer than TW. Thomas converts and gets the birdie for the U.S. while Leishman misses.

Match: Woods/Thomas 2 up thru 4.
Overall: USA and Internationals tied 1-1-1.

Hole 3 – Par 3

Tiger was all over the place here, leaving it short and in the bunker. The Internationals were both tight near the pin and Tiger had to basically hole-out to have a shot. He did not. Leishman makes birdie and the Internationals cut into the lead.

Match: Woods/Thomas 1 up thru 3.
Overall: USA and Internationals tied 1-1-2.

Hole 2 – Par 5

Driver went right here for the Big Cat. His second finds the fairway just short of the green, leaving a nice up-and-down chance for birdie to put some pressure on the Internationals. Back on No. 1 green, Sungjae Im just holed-out for eagle! Tiger has some great touch here on the fast and firm Australian greens. He rolls this one a bit further past the hole than he wanted, but he’s inside six feet for a second birdie. HE WALKS IT IN. Tiger carrying JT early as the Americans extend their lead.

Match: Woods/Thomas 2 up thru 2.
Overall: USA and Internationals all square.

Hole 1 – Par 4

Red sweaters. White and red striped golf shirts underneath. White pants. Blue caps. White belts (boo!) with the American flag on the buckle (USA!). It’s go-time in Oz! Americans have the honor. Tiger and JT find the fairway with driver and will have short wedges in. Chants of “USA! USA! USA!” ring out as Tiger’s approach rolls right at the cup and stops within a foot or two. The Internationals concede that putt for birdie. Leishman gave it a good roll but it comes up just short. Advantage Americans on No. 1.

Match: Woods/Thomas 1 up thru 1.
Overall: Team USA 1-0-0

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