Despite record loss, U.S. leads Presidents Cup after Day 1

The International team had all the advantages heading into day one of the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

They had the home turf advantage. They had players with all the local knowledge of a golf course that is as quirky as any in the world. They had the home bias support of the fans.

However, at the end of the first day of competition, the International team finds itself in a familiar position in the Presidents Cup -- Trailing the U.S. team.

Not that the U.S. team did not have their own struggles early on at Royal Melbourne during day one.

The familiar pairing of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker; who were unbeatable two years ago, suffered the worst loss in Presidents Cup history.

Losing to the team of Adam Scott and K.J. Choi 7 and 6. A match that lasted only 12 holes.

“We were just slightly off,” Woods said after their defeat. “On a golf course like this, it doesn’t take much.”

The pairing failed to make a birdie in their match on day one.

With most of the matches much closer than the final pairing, it was looking as though the day may end in a 3 - 3 tie.

However, the U.S. team really fought hard in matches where it saw Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar three down to Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley with just seven holes to play.

The American duo finished their round out with pars on their last two holes to force a halve in their match.

Another match that saw the U.S. team late was the pairing of Bill Haas and Nick Watney.

Going up against Geoff Ogivly and Charl Schwartzel, the Americans found themselves down late again. This time, the two were down two with only four holes to play.

Haas and Watney were also able to halve their match in the end, to help what could have been turned into a great opening day for the Internationals, into another U.S. opening day victory.

U.S. captain Fred Couples said, "We are more excited than we were an hour-and-a-half before the day ended. Our guys fought hard."

His International counter part Greg Norman, of course felt his team had day one well in hand until later in the afternoon when close matches were dropped to the Americans.

“My guys felt like they let a few matches slip away, no question about it. But they all understand. It’s the game of golf. It does happen."

"Their heads are really held high. They are not worried about the next three days going forward. They all feel like they are playing extremely good golf.”

Despite the record loss suffered by Woods and Stricker, the U.S. team walked away from day one with a 4 and 2 win over the Internationals.

Couples has made a change heading into the four ball matches on Friday.

He has split the once dominate pairing of Woods and Stricker up, pairing Woods with Johnson and Stricker with Kuchar.

Though this was Couples plan before this happened on day one.

The real concern has to be more on the Internationals teams side after day one's competition.

Being up in five of their matches at some point during day one, and coming away on the losing side yet again. Not how they wanted to begin the 2011 Presidents Cup.

Now having to fight their way out of a hole they have once again find their selves in.

“There’s no worse feeling than letting down your other 10 team members,” said Norman after what he witnessed during day one's competition.

“Sometimes you feel worse for the player than the player feels for himself. These guys are trying their guts out to put points on the board and they were playing very, very well coming to the end of the day. It’s just the way it played out, unfortunately for us.”

The four ball matches will be played today and we will see if the International team can bounce back from day one in which they thought they were in command of, instead found themselves down once again to the American side.

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