Solheim Cup: Europe hold one point lead after opening day


The European team hold a narrow lead after the opening day of the Solheim Cup

The European Solheim Cup team won both the morning foursomes 2.5 - 1.5 and halved the afternoon sessions, earning them a one lead points after the opening round at Gleneagles.

The day started with a convincing victory for the United States as the Korda sisters - who made history as the first sisters to play together in the Solheim Cup - gained the first point of the morning foursomes with a convincing 6&4 win over Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson. 

A tense match-up between Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex versus Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law ended up in a half, and it was the European duo of Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier who gained the home side's first full point with a 2&1 victory over Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare. 

Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz added to that tally as they teamed up for the first time in the final match of the morning to defeat the U.S rookie pairing of Megan Khang and Annie Park 2&1, giving the European's a narrow lead after the first session of foursomes.

Both Captain's decided to play the four reamining players in their team in the first two groups of the day, and one pairing that particularly impressed were the American duo of Angel Yin and her partner Ally McDonald, who replaced the injured Stacy Lewis after she withdrew at the start of the week. 

Yin and McDonald were out in the second match of the afternoon and outplayed the Swedish duo of Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall with seven birdies between them during a 7&5 victory - tying the biggest ever winning margin in Solheim Cup fourball history.

Nine-time Solheim Cup player and wildcard Suzann Pettersen partnered up well with rookie Anne Van Dam, and the duo took down Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas 4&2.

Somewhat surprisingly, Inkster decided to split up the Korda sisters and pair them with the other two players in their pod (Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare) for the final two fourballs, and it was a gamble that ended in one point a piece as they faced two unchanged European pairings from the morning session.

In the third match of the afternoon, Law and Ciganda faced off against Thompson and Jessica Korda in a match that had just two halved holes, and it came down to the wire before the match was ultimately halved thanks to a Thompson birdie at the last.

Nelly Korda paired up with Altomare for the final match of the afternoon, and although they won the first hole the European team soon took control and a point looked inevitable. But the two rookies showed their fight and clawed their way back over final few holes to force the match down the 18th, managing half a point thanks to a final hole birdie from Altomare.

USA Captain Juli Inkster said: “No one really ever talks about the half point. I have to say those two half points at the end were huge. For two rookies to be four down with five holes left and to come back and tie, you can't teach that. It's just in your belly. I'm just so impressed with them. 

“We’ve just got to keep the Europeans in our rearview mirror, so we can see them. You don't want to get too far down. It was looking like we could be two and a half points down, but you keep gnawing a half a point here and there and it adds up. You look at all the golf today and we're only a point down, so I'm very pleased with where we're at right now.”

Catriona Matthew, the European Captain, said: “I'd be lying if I said it was what we were looking for. But I think you have to take the positives and we're leading. We're a point up. If we're leading at the end of each day, that would be great. 

“I think everyone's a little disappointed, but Charley had a great putt on the last, it was just a little firm. Brittany holed up and made a great birdie. It's not as if we lost it with bad play; the others birdied it. We're pleased with going in with a one-point lead.”

Full results 

Europe 4.5 - 3.5 USA

• Match 1: A/S between Ciganda/ Law vs Pressel/ Alex
• Match 2: Hall/ Boutier def. Lexi Thompson & Brittany Altomare 2&1
• Match 3: Masson/ Ewart Shadoff beaten by Korda/ Korda 6&4
• Match 4: Hull/ Munoz def. Khang/ Park 2&1
• Match 5: Pettersen/ Van Dam def. Kang/ Salas 4&2
• Match 6: Nordqvist/Hedwall beaten by McDonald/Yin 7&5
• Match 7: A/S between Ciganda/ Law vs J. Korda/Thompson
• Match 8: A/S between Hull/Munoz vs N.Korda/Altomare

Friday Foursomes: Results

Match 1: A/S between Carlota Ciganda/ Bronte Law vs Morgan Pressel & Marina Alex
It was a tough tussel in the top match of the morning: A par at the first gave Europe the advantage, and they moved to 2up in their match after a par three at the fourth, but the USA quickly pulled it back with a birdie at the fifth followed by two consecutive pars to win three holes in a row. The match moved back to all-square at the eighth before a birdie on the 10th put them ahead, but Ciganda and Law won the next and the Spaniard holed a huge putt on the 12th to keep it all-square. Alex converted a brilliant approach from Pressel for birdie at the 14th to reegain the lead, but Europe pegged it back to all-square with one hole to go. At the 18th, Law missed the green with her approach, and although Ciganda couldn't keep the following chip on the green, they managed to walk away with the half.

pressel and alex

Match 2: Georgia Hall/ Celine Boutier def. Lexi Thompson & Brittany Altomare 2&1
With a new partner in Altamore, Lexi Thompson took the lead first in this match with a birdie at the third, but Hall and Boutier claimed the next two holes to move ahead, compounding their position with a further gain at the seventh to go two up. Another birdie at the 10th put the European's up by three, and by the 12th a double-bogey from the American moved them to 4UP. Thompson and Altomare won the 14th, and Altomare kept the match alive with a lengthy birdie putt at the 16th before Europe gained their first full point of the morning with a par on the 17th.

hall and boutier

Match 3: Jessica Korda/ Nelly Korda def. Caroline Masson & Jodi Ewart Shadoff 6&4
The Korda sisters begged Julie Inkster to be paired together for the Solheim Cup, and although she was initially against the idea, the Captain will certainly be pleased they convinced her. Jessica holed two birdie putts to win the first two holes, and took advantage as Masson and Ewart Shadoff made three bogeys in a row, moving to four up with pars on the fourth and five holes. They matched birdies at the next, and a bogey was enough to move to 5up after seven. Their first dropped shot of the day saw them fall briefly back to 4up, but an eagle at the ninth saw them make the turn in 5up, and Masson did well to keep it that way with a birdie on 10 after Jessica chipped in for a two. Another par for the Korda's moved them to 6up, and despite losing the 12th, they finished the match on 14 with a birdie to win the first point of the day, 6&4.

jessica korda nelly korda

Match 4: Charley Hull/ Azahara Munoz def. Megan Khang/ Annie Park 2&1
The U.S rookies fought well but it was Hull and Munoz who won their first match paired together in the Solheim Cup. They moved ahead at the first with a birdie before the American duo recorded a birdie at the second to move back to level, and although the European pair won the next two holes they lost the sixth and then the eighth two holes later to keep it even through the turn. Hull and Munoz moved back in front with a birdie on the 13th, and a par at the 17th was enough to put Europe ahead by 1 point after the morning foursomes session with a 2&1 victory. 

Friday Fourballs: Results

Match 5: Suzann Pettersen & Anne Van Dam def. Danielle Kang & Lizette Salas 4&2

Rookie Anne Van Dam and wildcard Solheim Cup veteran Suzann Pettersen sat out the morning session but combined well as they claimed Europe's first point of the afternoon fourballs. They took the lead with an opening par before Lizette Salas answered back with a birdie at the second, but from there the European team stayed in control. Pettersen holed a huge par-putt to move ahead at the fourth, and Van Dam then birdied the par-three sixth before her playing partner holed out for eagle at seven. Van Dam added a birdie at the ninth to go 4UP at the turn, and although Salas managed to win the 14th hole with a birdie three, their final birdie putt on 16 was conceded to win the match 4&2.

Match 6: Ally McDonald & Angel Yin def. Anna Nordqvist & Caroline Hedwall 7&5

Ally McDonald was a late injury replacement for Stacy Lewis, and she proved she more than deserved her spot as she paired with Angel Yin to defeat Solheim veterans Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall 7&5. They partnered well, making three consecutive birdies to win the first three holes (Yin at one and three, McDonald at two), before a par at the fifth helped them to a 4UP advantage. That outstanding golf continued around the turn: Yin added a birdie at the ninth before McDonald rolled in her putt for a two at the 10th and Yin made a further gain at the 11th to go 7UP in their match. Nordqvist extended the match with a birdie on 12 but it ended just a hole later with a par from McDonald.  

Match 7: A/S between Carlota Ciganda/Bronte Law vs Jessica Korda/Lexi Thompson

In the closest match of the afternoon, both teams traded control frequently through the front nine as they halved just two holes all day (the eighth and 12th). Thompson opened with a birdie at the first but missed a short chance at the second and Ciganda took advantage before rolling in a par at the third to put Europe ahead. Korda responded with an excellent tee shot to the fourth and converted for birdie to pull the match back to A/S, and Thompson's par on the fifth gave the advantage back to the U.S. Law then won the sixth and seventh holes with birdies, but Korda responded with an eagle on the ninth and birdie at the 10th. Ciganda then birdied the 11th before Thompson won the 13th and 14th holes with par, and Law reacted with an impressive put at 15 before Ciganda birdied 16 to pull the match all-square for the sixth time. The big moment in this match came on the 17th with a huge birdie putt from Ciganda, but Thompson responded with a birdie at the last to halve the match. 

Match 8: A/S between Charley Hull & Azahara Munoz vs Nelly Korda & Brittany Altomare

The European pair lost the opening hole after Munoz missed a short par putt on the first, but they soon recovered and looked to be in control until a late fightback from the Americans. Munoz put her approach to within a few feet on the par-three fourth and converted to level the match, and she followed Hull's winning par at the sixth with a birdie on the seventh to double their advantage. Hull's putter helped her to both a birdie two at the 10th and another birdie on 12th to get to 4UP, and while Altomare made back-to-back gains from the 13th, Hull matched her feat on 14 to stay 3UP before the American rookie extended the match with an eagle at the par-five 16th. Nelly Korda piled the pressure on further as she hit the pin with her tee shot to the par-three 17th, and Hull couldn't tie the hole as she lipped out from less than 10 feet. At the final hole, Altomare holed a long birdie putt, and neither Hull or Munoz could match her, resulting in a halved match.