Thomas, Fowler help US claim early Presidents Cup advantage

The United States and their quest for a seventh successive Presidents Cup crown started well thanks to high-flying Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler in New Jersey.

Overlooking the Statue of Liberty as New York City's skyline loomed in the background, USA claimed a 3.5 - 1.5 lead over the Internationals through Thursday's foursomes matches.

Playing alternate shot in heavy winds proved difficult for some of the world's best players, but the teams paved the way for an enthralling four days.

FedEx Cup champion Thomas and compatriot Fowler set the early pace against Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel, winning 6 and four at Liberty National Golf Club.

The Americans sent two good friends out to kick off the event and they needed just 14 holes to dispatch one of the Internationals' most potent duos. Thomas and Fowler made four birdies despite the windy conditions and tricky alternate-shot format.

World number one Dustin Johnson and American team-mate Matt Kuchar moved 1up over Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas.

Neck and neck all day, this match was all-square heading into the last three holes. Johnson and Kuchar won the par-three 16th, and then halved the 17th and 18th to put another US point on the board. 

Scott, serving as the International team's elder statesman, hit a few wayward shots down the stretch to help open the door for Johnson and Kuchar, who played Thursday's round bogey-free.

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed got the job done against Emiliano Grillo and Kim Si-woo, triumphing 5 and 4.

This looked like one of the most lopsided matchups on paper and it proved that way in reality as well. Spieth and Reed, who became inseparable partners during last year's Ryder Cup, won five of their first seven holes to claim a big point for the Americans.

The Internationals managed to make an impact on the scoreboard thanks to South African duo Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen, who were 3 and 1 winners over Brooks Koepka thanks to three birdies in their last five holes.

Former world number one Jason Day and fellow Australian Marc Leishman - who won the BMW Championship during the FedEx Cup play-offs - halved with Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner after rallying from three down through seven holes.

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