It's impossible to predict the outcome of the Presidents Cup on Day One, but the way things have gone in the past between the U.S. and International squad, getting out to an early lead can prove to be a huge advantage.
While Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar were only able to secure a half point against Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley on Thursday, there's no doubting it was the most important U.S. point of the day.
Two down with two to play, the American duo clawed back to send the match the distance, before making a key putt on the 18th to wrap up an improbable half point.
Early on, it appeared the Aussie pairing had the match well in hand, as Johnson and Kuchar fell 3-down thru the first 8 holes. But as we've seen before in match play situations, anything can happen, especially when you have a streaky rookie in Aaron Baddeley feeling the pressure.
After missing a six-footer to win the match on 17, the Aussie compounded his bad luck by hitting a couple inches behind his ball on the 18th tee, sending the shot skyward and into the high grass well short of the fairway.
It was an embarrassing moment that made you realize what kind of pressure Baddeley was under at the time. Clearly, playing in front of the home crowd with the match hanging in the balance was too much.
Sometimes all you have to do in match play is hope your opponent realizes the magnitude of a particular situation. Thankfully for the U.S., that moment came at the most opportune time.
Being down 4-2 after Day One isn't an impossible deficit for the International's; however, no team has ever come from two points back after the opening session to win the Presidents Cup.
It may be only a half point, but if you believe history is a good determining factor for the future, it could prove to be the most critical half point of the entire event.
- Aaron Baddeley
- Matt Kuchar
- Dustin Johnson