A memorable start that featured the previous three U.S. presidents on the first tee ended with a familiar result in the Presidents Cup in Jersey City, N.J.. The Americans are out to another big lead in the event they haven’t lost in nearly two decades.

PGA champion Justin Thomas made his professional team debut with a short day of work as he and Rickie Fowler lost only two holes in a 6-and-4 victory.

Jordan Spieth holed a 35-foot putt that sent him and Patrick Reed to another victory. Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar remained unbeaten.

The Americans won the opening session for the sixth straight time in the Presidents Cup and built a 3½-1½ lead Thursday after the opening foursomes matches.

Phil Mickelson, playing in his 23rd consecutive team competition, ended the tough, wind-swept afternoon at Liberty National by missing an 8-foot par putt, or the U.S. lead would have been even greater.

He and Kevin Kisner were 1 down with two holes remaining to Jason Day and Marc Leishman, so a half-point wasn’t bad.

Mickelson’s only complaint was that he botched his selfie with former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, with barely his head showing.

For the most part, everything else went the Americans’ way.

The lone bright spot for the International team was Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, who improved to 5-0 as a tandem. The South Africans pulled away for a 3-and-1 victory over U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

The stars on this day didn’t hit a shot.

The leader of every country where the Presidents Cup is held are invited to be honorary chairman, but this was a first — three U.S. presidents together at this event, sitting together in a box on the first tee and then posing with the trophy, the players and their wives.

“I was looking forward to this Presidents Cup for a very long time, and I didn’t expect all the presidents to be there,” Charl Schwartzel of South Africa said.

LPGA Tour

Canadian Brooke Henderson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England shot 7-under 65 to share the lead in the New Zealand Women’s Open, leaving home star Lydia Ko 5 strokes back after the first round.

The playing partners led by 1 stroke over Amy Boulden of Wales and Belen Mozo of Spain, with American Brittany Lincicome, Beatriz Recari of Spain and South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi another stroke back after 67s.

The New Zealand Open is on the LPGA Tour for the first time this year.

European Tour

George Coetzee and Tyrrell Hatton shot 7-under 63s to lead the British Masters, while Rory McIlroy needed the help of a spectator to stay on track in his first round.

Coetzee followed up top-10 finishes at his last two events by rolling in six birdies and making an eagle at the par-5 sixth hole to set a clubhouse target at Close House Golf Club in northern England.

Hatton joined Coetzee atop the leaderboard by making birdies on five of the last seven holes, including one from 15 feet at the par-3 18th.

Finnish golfers Mikko Ilonen and Mikko Korhonen were in a five-way share of third place on 6 under, along with Alvaro Quiros, Chris Hanson and Rikard Karlberg.

McIlroy shot 67 but only after a spectator found his ball inside the five-minute time limit following a wild drive on No. 17, his eighth hole.