By Steve Keating
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) – Former Masters champions Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama will lead an inexperienced International team into battle after they were paired together on Wednesday for the Presidents Cup’s opening foursome against the United States partnership of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
With a record eight Presidents Cup debutants on his squad, International captain Trevor Immelman will be counting on his two most battle-tested players, Australian Scott and Japan’s Matsuyama, to provide a steady launch at Quail Hollow Club on Thursday against the heavily favoured Americans.
Scott, playing in his 10th Presidents Cup and Matsuyama, his fifth, will face a well oiled U.S. pair in world number four Cantlay and number five Schauffele, who teamed up to win the Zurich Classic in New Orleans in April and played all their matches together at the 2019 Presidents Cup.
Schauffele and Cantlay are 4-0-0 in foursomes, or alternate shot format, across the 2019 Presidents Cup and 2021 Ryder Cup events.
The second match out will see U.S. captain Davis Love III pit multiple major winners Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who grew up playing junior golf together, against South Korea’s Im Sung-jae and Canadian Corey Conners.
Two South Korean Presidents Cup rookies 20-year-old dynamo Tom Kim, the youngest player in this year’s competition, and K.H. Lee take on the U.S. duo of Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa.
The fourth match out will feature close friends world number one and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, three-times a winner on the PGA Tour this season, going against South Korea’s Kim Si-woo and Australia’s Cam Davis.
The final match of Day One will pit Tony Finau and Max Homa up against two more Presidents Cup newcomers in Canada’s Taylor Pendrith and Chile’s Mito Pereira.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Charlotte. Editing by Toby Davis)