Historically, rookies don't win two points on the first day of their inaugural Ryder Cup appearance. Shoot, it's rare that a rookie will get to play both the morning and afternoon sessions on Friday at the Ryder Cup.
Xander Schauffele is no ordinary rookie and he doesn't lose when he's playing for the USA. The Olympic gold medalist showed everyone why he's one of the best putters on the planet, winning both of his matches on a dominant Day 1 for Team America.
On a windy day at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin the former Aztec and Scripps Ranch High School star was paired with fellow rookie Patrick Cantlay (six of the 12 players on the US team this year are first-timers) for the morning alternate-shot rounds. The close friends not only complemented each other's games. They were almost sharing one brain.
The pair won the first five holes against European Ryder Cup veterans Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter with Xander reading the greens to perfection. His best effort of the morning came on the 5th hole when he rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt over a ridge and dropped it right in the middle of the cup.
In the afternoon four-ball event the former Aztec was paired with Dustin Johnson. In his first four Ryder Cups, Johnson never won two points on the first day. That changed playing with Schauffele. Xander rolled in a couple more birdies early to take a lead against Bernd Wiesberger and Paul Casey, then watched Johnson go bonkers.
DJ made birdies on 10, 11, and 12 to pump the lead to 3-up. The Europeans won the 16th hole but Schauffele made sure there would be no comeback. He calmly sank a par putt to halve the hole and win the match 2&1.
The Americans won two matches and halved the other two to take three points in the afternoon, which is kind of amazing when you consider that they've stunk in the afternoon of Day 1 recently. Over the pervious three Ryder Cups combined they'd only won 1 1/2 points in the four-ball sessions.
America takes a 6-2 lead to Saturday. They need 14 1/2 points to take back the Cup for the 6th time in the last 38 years. In the morning alternate shot session it'll be Xander and Cantlay together again, this time against Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.