JERSEY CITY, United States: Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, who impressed in their first Presidents Cup outing together Thursday (Friday in Manila), will face a tough challenge on Friday against International super-duo Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.
World number four Thomas, coming off a season that included a first major among five wins and the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoff title, is playing in his first Presidents Cup.
He teamed seamlessly with Fowler in a 6 & 4 win over Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and South African Charl Schwartzel on Thursday.
“The adrenaline is pumping, but like any round, once you hit a couple shots, a couple holes … it’s just kind of what we do,” the 24-year-old Thomas said of the nerves he felt representing the United States for the first time.
Even in difficult, windy conditions, Thomas said, the round with Fowler was a lot of fun.
“We’ve played so much golf together and spent so much time around each other that we are pretty comfortable,” Thomas said. “I think it was a great partnership for me just because he’s done this a lot and he probably know show I’m going to feel and he probably knows the right things to say to me.”
Oosthuizen and Grace promise an even tougher challenge in Fridays fourball matches.
Unbeaten in four matches together at the 2015 Presidents Cup, they claimed the Internationals’ only win on Thursday — 3 & 1 over Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, winners on Thursday, are teamed again for the US on Friday, this time against Matsuyama and Canadian Adam Hadwin — who sat out Thursday.
Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner will take on Australians Marc Leishman and Jason Day on Friday in a reprise of a tense foursomes match that ended halved.
In Friday’s other matches, Americans Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman take on South African Charl Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri of India while the US duo of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka face Aussie Adam Scott and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas — who will be trying to bounce back from a narrow defeat on Thursday.