Solheim Cup: USA remain in control as Europe stage late rally
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 19/08/17 6:49pm
Europe staged a late rally to earn a share of the day two foursomes at the Solheim Cup after Team USA had threatened to extend their commanding three-point lead in Iowa..
Results and latest scores
The Americans scored convincing wins in the opening two matches, although Europe finally got some blue on the board in matches three and four as they belatedly fought back following Friday's devastating whitewash in the afternoon fourballs.
Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson continued the momentum for Juli Inkster's side in the opening match of the day, with Kerr surpassing her captain as the all-time leading points scorer for Team USA as they crushed Jodi Ewart Shadoff 5&3.
Mel Reid and Emily Pedersen gifted away hole after hole on the back nine in their clash with Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst, the European pair making four consecutive bogeys from the 10th and slipping to a 4&3 defeat.
Europe were behind in all four matches early on and flirting with another winless session, but Anna Nordqvist and star rookie Georgia Hall led the fightback as they earned the first blue point since Friday lunchtime with a hard-fought 2&1 win over Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller.
And there was more blue on the board in the bottom match as veteran "Supermums" Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher combined for their second win of the competition, holding off Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang to give Europe hope heading into the afternoon fourballs.
However, with Europe already missing Suzann Pettersen, captain Annika Sorenstam has been dealt another injury blow as Charley Hull was forced to sit out the entire day to protect the wrist injury she aggravated on day one.
Ewart Shadoff/Masson lost to Kerr/Thompson 5&3
The top American pairing produced golf to match their lofty world rankings as they outclassed the luckless European pair with a six-birdie performance in a comfortable win.
Ewart Shadoff endured an attack of first-tee nerves as she blocked the opening drive of the day way right and into a creek, although she atoned by holing a huge putt for par only for Thompson to win the hole with a birdie from eight feet.
Kerr was hot with the putter throughout and got another one to drop at the third and, after Europe's birdie at the fourth earned a half, the visitors finally got a win on the board with a par at six as the home pair got into a rare spot of bother.
But Kerr and Thompson surged ahead with a faultless display around the turn, making three consecutive winning birdies from the eighth before narrowly missing out on another at the long 11th.
Europe missed an opportunity to pull one back at 13 as both teams bogeyed, but par golf proved enough to close it out for the Americans on the 15th as Kerr became the leading all-time points scorer for Team USA with 19, surpassing her captain.
Reid/Pedersen lost to Creamer/Ernst 5&3
Creamer and Ernst atoned for their opening day defeat as they coasted to an impressive win in match two over Reid and a clearly out-of-sorts Pedersen, with the European pairing paying the price for a run of four straight bogeys to start the back nine.
The match began brightly for the visitors as Reid drove the green and Pedersen lagged her birdie putt for a win, but Creamer converted a superb tee shot to six feet from Ernst at the third and the American's opened up a two-hole lead with unmatched birdies at the fifth and seventh.
A par at the eighth was enough to claw one back for Europe, and they got away with their bogey at the 10th before going two down again at the next after scrapping their way to an ugly six.
The mistakes continued over the next two holes as Creamer and Ernst were gifted another two wins with pars, and the match was conceded on the 15th green with the Europeans out of position once again.
Nordqvist/Hall bt Lewis/Piller 2&1
Georgia Hall's impressive Solheim Cup debut continued as he made it two foursomes wins out of two alongside the experienced Nordqvist to give Annika Sorenstam's side late encouragement and valuable momentum to take into the fourballs.
The unflappable Hall nailed a tricky putt for a winning birdie at the first, but they were unable to match the American birdies at the par-five fourth and fifth holes as Lewis and Piller added to the sea of red on the leaderboard.
But a par at the next levelled the contest, and Europe regained the lead on the 10th as Hall knocked a superb approach in close and Piller thinned her second from a fairway bunker over the green, from where Lewis pitched past the pin and back into further rough.
Hall's assured iron play set up another birdie chance at the 13th which Nordqvist converted from six feet to double the advantage, and the teams traded pars over the next three holes before the match looked like going down the last with Hall facing a 12-footer for par at 17.
But the young English star rattled in the putt to secure the first point for Europe since Friday lunchtime.
Matthew/Icher bt Wie/Kang 2&1
Europe's "Supermum" pairing made it two wins out of two as they surprised USA's in-form pairing with a solid foursomes performance in the anchor match.
Matthew only found out she would be playing on Wednesday when Suzann Pettersen was forced to withdraw with a back injury, but the veteran Scot again proved the ideal foil for Icher as age and experience triumphed over youth.
Wie and Kang, impressive winners in the first fourballs match on Friday, got the home crowd in fine voice when they birdied the third to take an early lead, but Europe pulled back to all-square on the fifth as Matthew finished off a good up-and-down after Kang's birdie putt lipped out.
Icher's precise tee shot to 12 feet at the eighth was backed up by a perfect Matthew putt which swept the veterans into the lead for the first time, and the evergreen "Beany" was on target again from similar range at the 12th to double the advantage.
Wie and Kang pulled one back with a par at the 13th as the European's stumbled to their first bogey of the day, but the tables were turned at the 16th as the Americans bogeyed and Icher drilled in a vital par-saving putt from six feet before a solid three at 17 secured a priceless win for the visitors - and Matthew's 21st career point in the Solheim Cup.