The Solheim cup got under way in Killeen castle in County Meath this morning. The United States and Europe both took two points to split Friday morning’s foursomes matches.
Suzann Pettersen gave Europe a huge boost by holing an eight foot birdie putt on the final hole to make it honours even after the opening series of foursomes.
Pettersen, the world No.2, and Sophie Gustafson had lost the 17th to stand all square in the bottom match against Juli Inkster and Brittany Lang but they pulled a full point out of the bag to make the score 2-all.
European Captain Alison Nicholas greeted the win with a jig of joy and Pettersen said: “It was great to hear the cheers ringing round the 18th. Sophie played a brilliant shot and then the putt was straight in the middle.”
She added: “It’s turned out well for us. That was a huge putt from Suzann on the last. She was going to make that and that’s what champions are made of.
“Foursomes is a tough game and you have to keep in there fighting and we did that. It did look like it was getting away from us at one stage, when America were ahead in 3 matches, but that was heart at its best.
“It’s been up and down and all about. We looked like we’d get the second match and a 3-1, the bottom match went all the way, but you have to expect the nips and tucks. It’s tight.
Suzann Pettersen said: “I had missed a few short putts to keep them in the match earlier on, but Sophie left me the easiest putt on the last with a great approach and my putt was right on the middle, so no, I wasn’t feeling too nervous over it! We played and dovetailed well today as a pair.
“It’s a great feeling to win our point. We did our job and we knew it was going to be a battle against Juli and Brittany. We know they will never give up and we kind of screwed up 17.
“We had got our noses in front but could never quite get away. But when Juli missed her birdie putt on the last I knew what I had to do.”
Sophie Gustafson said: “I think 2-2 is a pretty good job. It’s not easy. It’s hard to get your rhythm going in foursomes so our plan was to hit greens in regulation to make sure we had lots of putts each. It’s hard in the wind and sometimes you hit shots that don’t get rewarded. But we got the point in the end.”
But the USA team, bidding to win the trophy for the fourth year in a row, showed their own grit and determination with an unlikely win in the second match.
The all-English pair of Karen Stupples and Melissa Reid had looked to be in control against Paula Creamer and Brittany LIncicome when they stood two up with four holes to play.
But they lost the 15th to a birdie, the 17th to a par and then took six down the 18th after Stupples hit her drive into rough and then bunkered the third shot.
It was a one hole victory for Creamer and Lincicome and one of the massive momentum swings that make the Solheim Cup such an absorbing spectacle.
“It’s obviously devastating for Karen and Mel to be 2up with 3 to play and lose it,” said Nicholas.
“I’ve spoken to Karen Stupples and we’re looking forward. You can’t change the past. You have to put it behind you. We’re not dwelling on what might have been. Let’s move forwards.
“I am pleased with the way the rookies played. They were awesome. To me they aren’t rookies. This afternoon we want our 4-balls to put 2 balls on the fairways, 2 on the greens. That’s the best way to win the session.”
But there was a great point for Europe from the ever reliable Catriona Matthew and Spanish rookie Azahara Munoz. Never behind in the third match, the home duo were three up after five holes and went on to beat Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford by a comfortable 3 and 2.
“It was my first Solheim so I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was really exciting,” said Munoz. “Catriona was an awesome partner. She keeps her emotions so calm.”
SOLHEIM CUP (KILLEEN CASTLE, IRELAND)
Foursomes (Europe names first):
Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist lost to Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr 2 and 1
Karen Stupples and Melissa Reid lost to Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome one
Catriona Matthew and Azahara Munoz beat Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford 3 and 2
Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson beat Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster one
Europe USA 2-2
Laura Davies and Melissa Reid v Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer
Catriona Matthew and Sandra Gal v Christina Kim and Ryann O’Toole
Sophie Gustafson and Caroline Hedwall v Vicky Hurst and Brittany Lincicome
Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist v Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie
Courtesy of http://www.ladieseuropeantour.com/
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