Presidents Cup Day 2 Betting Picks: Will Team USA Bounce Back at Royal Melbourne?
Adam Hagy, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sungjae Im
We’ve got a ballgame, folks.
Through one session at the Presidents Cup, the prevailing feeling is that this one is already different from a few of the previous editions, as the International team has raced to a 4-1 early lead.
If there’s a silver lining for the U.S. side – you know, besides the fact that they’ve won this thing seven times in a row and only lost once – it’s that the red, white and blue traditionally dominate the foursomes format which will be employed for the second session.
Will that dominance continue? Or will Ernie Els’ squad extend its current lead? Let’s break down the next five matches.
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Team International: Louis Oosthuizen/Adam Scott (-118) vs. Team USA: Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar (+150) | Draw +550
The only player who didn’t compete last week, Johnson at times appeared like he was still resting during the opening session, as his game looked lackluster and he seemed a bit unenthused – which, granted, is his usual demeanor, but also a byproduct of having an insurmountable early deficit.
He’ll get a familiar partner here in Kuchar, but Els is going for the jugular early, pairing his two most experienced players in hopes they’ll provide some early momentum in front of the home crowds. It’s difficult to envision this pairing failing in that role, as there could be more yellow on the board before we see any red.
The pick: International
Team International: Adam Hadwin/Joaquin Niemann (+140) vs. Team USA: Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay (-111) | Draw: +600
A few mild surprises in this one: After losing as a pairing in the opening session, I would’ve thought Schauffele and Cantlay would both be in the lineup again, though not together; Cantlay and Reed seemed a more natural tandem for this format.
As for the other side, Niemann at times seemed like he was doing the doggy-paddle in the deep end, playing with Marc Leishman against Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas; he was seemingly a candidate for rest, but instead gets paired with a fellow rookie.
That rookie is the X-factor in this match, as Hadwin putted lights-out in the first session, though he should have a tough time replicating that performance. I’m not as confident in Schauffele/Cantlay as I was previously, before their loss, but I think they’ll come away with a point in this one.
The pick: USA
Team International: Marc Leishman/Abraham Ancer (+125) vs. Team USA: Webb Simpson/Patrick Reed (+105) | Draw +550
I wrote it before the event started and through one round it’s ringing true: This could be the week that the world starts understanding just how talented Ancer is. Following his victory with Oosthuizen, the veteran gushed over the rookie’s composure. Now he’ll get a similarly composed partner in Leishman, a pairing which makes a ton of sense. The idea of Simpson and Reed never really did, other than the fact that they’re a pair of square pegs which don’t really have any other round holes. Despite the tepid catcalls from the gallery, Reed played well, but it’s tough to see this Odd Couple having success against two of the International team’s best in this one.
The pick: International
Team International: Byeong Hun An/Hideki Matsuyama (+165) vs. Team USA: Justin Thomas/Tiger Woods (-130) | Draw: +600
If there was an MVP from the first session, even in team defeat, it might’ve been Captain Woods himself, who carried Thomas to the U.S. side’s lone point. Even though Tiger owns identical 2-3-0 records in the last two editions of this event at Royal Melbourne, this course is a perfect setup for the 43-year-old version, who remains one of the world’s best long- and mid-iron players.
The U.S. duo will be up against a like-minded team featuring two strong ball-strikers who each struggle to get the ball into the hole at times. Unless one – or both – of An and Matsuyama suddenly get Hadwin-like hot with the flatstick, expect Tiger to claim his Presidents Cup record-tying 26th win here.
The pick: USA
Team International: Sungjae Im/Cameron Smith (+120) vs. Rickie Fowler/Gary Woodland (+110) | Draw: +550
After sitting on the first day in front of the home crowds, expect Smith to be like a caged animal getting loose, which may or may not be a good thing. If he is indeed too amped up, the methodical Im should help slow him down.
As for the U.S. side, we should be excited to watch Fowler make his debut on this course, which should suit his proficiency for creativity on fast, firm, wind-blown tracks. Woodland admittedly had a terrible first match after waiting for so long to make a U.S. team, but this is a chance to prove he’s a lot more than just a dude who smacks it a long way off the tee.
This is a smart pairing for Woods and the two of them should complement each other well in this format.
The pick: USA