The United States were marching toward a 10th Presidents Cup crown on Saturday, winning three of four morning foursomes and halving another against an global team fighting for survival. Two years ago in South Korea after tumbling into a similar Day 1 hole, the worldwide side rallied by winning four of the fourball matches.
"I think we saw the strength of the USA team come out today", Price said. On Day 1, Thomas - a five-time victor on the PGA Tour this season and the FedExCup champion - admitted to being nervous, but by the time he and partner Rickie Fowler wrapped up their match he'd emerged as the team's emotional spark.
But Leishman could not hole his putt, he and Jason Day having spent a good part of the day ahead in their match against Mickelson and Kevin Kisner. "They came into this event riding a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence, and they really get excited to play these team events and it's showing". Leishman received a free drop for his next shot, but the foul ball seemed to energize the US, which promptly birdied back-to-back holes to grab control. He and Reed stole a half-point against Matsuyama and Hadwin in Friday's four-ball session, so the Americans are likely to keep their hot streak rolling into the weekend.
Under the gaze of the Statue of Liberty, the United States have been domineering hosts, winning four of five four-ball matches and halving the other surging to a 8-2 lead to the delight of a giddy home crowd at Liberty National.
The pep talk worked early on, as Fowler opened with birdies on two of the first four holes to grab the US duo a 1-up lead.
An afternoon sweep would give the Americans the 15.5 points they need to win the biennial match play crown and make Sunday's 12 singles matches moot.More news: Blade Runner 2049: Jared Leto was practically blind while shooting!
Also scoring points for the USA were Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, who birdied the final two holes for a 3&2 decision over Australia's Adam Scott and Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas, and Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas with a 3&2 victory over South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.
Global captain Nick Price insisted his team's chance of lifting the Cup for just the second time isn't over.
Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner, United States, def. Jason Day and Marc Leishman, International, 1 up. The International Team is made up of players not from Europe. That was about the last positive thing that happened for them, with Spieth and Reed making birdies at nine, 12, 13, 14 and 15 to close out the match, 4 and 3, and earn the Americans the first point of the day. It was the first time in 10 years the worldwide did not win a match in a session.
A series of errors left the match all square going into the 18th hole, where Mickelson missed a short putt, leaving both teams with half a point.
Another International team member who had a day to forget was India's Anirban Lahiri, who was disqualified from playing the third hole after taking a practice shot out of the bunker at the second. Vegas birdied the next hole from 35 feet, and that's when Johnson took over.