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Presidents Cup 2022: Power pairing Cantlay and Schauffele sends resounding message on Day 1

September 22, 2022
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Cliff Hawkins

CHARLOTTE — Patrick Cantlay said Wednesday that he and Xander Schauffele needed to make a statement on Day 1 at the Presidents Cup. International team captain Trevor Immelman had chosen his highest-profile pairing—Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama—for the first match of Thursday’s foursomes session.

“Pat sent a text out last night to [Justin Thomas] and Jordan [Spieth] saying let's try to set a tone, being the lead two matches,” Schauffele said.

The message to Scott and Matsuyama, however, was delivered in the form of a 6-and-5 thrashing. The tone couldn’t have been clearer: the 2022 Presidents Cup is going exactly how Team USA wants it to go.

Cantlay and Schauffele set their intentions early. Matsuyama and Scott were full of errors and poor swings but scraped out halves on the first two holes. But they bogeyed to lose No. 3, then the Americans rattled off three straight birdies starting at the par-4 fifth to go 4 up. The International duo clawed back some momentum when they made birdie No. 8 to win the hole, and at the par-3 10th, Matsuyama hit his tee shot to six feet while the Americans were 23 feet away. But Scott missed their birdie and the Americans went to make three straight pars to Scott and Matsuyama’s three straight bogeys.

“We expected them to come on strong, and we got lucky there on 10,” Schauffele said. “That could have been a big one, but they missed. We used that to give us some momentum to finish off this match.

Schauffele and Cantlay added a postscript to that message: their partnership in foursomes is truly a force for the U.S. team. Their victory Thursday meant Cantlay and Schauffele are undefeated together in the alternate-shot format. They are 5-0-0, which includes two foursomes matches at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne and last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Cantlay and Schauffele also teamed up to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April, which uses foursomes.

Schauffele and Cantlay will link up again in Friday’s four-ball session, where they’ll take on Matsuyama and young Korean phenom Tom Kim. If that goes well, it’s likely they’ll get a chance to continue their indelible foursomes record on Saturday morning when the Cup returns to alternate shot.

When asked how big a motivator it is to continue their undefeated foursomes streak, Schauffele and Cantlay’s banter said everything about their chemistry.

“I'll just keep talking for us; Pat's ready for some dinner and some R and R,” Schauffele joked, before Cantlay said he “should do all my press conferences like this,” referring to Schauffele as the spokesperson.

“Yeah, we're very motivated [to keep the record going]. We enjoy playing together. We've done well in the format, and we attribute it to our friendship and competing a lot against each other on normal weeks. It’s just a lot of fun for us to do this.”

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