Solheim Cup Tees Off to Raucous Atmosphere, Team USA Leads

Posted August 20, 2017

Thanks to a gutsy win from Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher, Annika Sorenstam's side led 2.5-1.5 after the morning foursomes in Iowa before having no answer to a fourball blitz from the Americans.

But Sorenstam, the Hall of Fame player who served as a vice captain in the three previous Solheim Cups, is confident the underdog Europeans can hang with the USA when play begins Friday at Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

Heading into the afternoon fourball matches, the United States led the Ryder Cup-style competition 7 1/2 to 4 1/2. "We certainly didn't want to lose another session". She became the USA's all-time leading points scorer with 19, overtaking the current team captain Juli Inkster's haul of 18 ½. "We've got to believe".

"We played fantastic this afternoon", she acknowledged, "but Annika will have the Europeans fired up, so we need to keep doing what we are doing".

Kang and Michelle Wie then dismissed England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden 3&1.

Scotland's Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher of France managed to beat Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller to hand the Europeans the advantage going into this afternoon's four fourball contests. And we just didn't have the same flow.

At a time when the women's circuit in Europe is struggling, there is a sense that a victory here this weekend could provide a much-needed injection of vigour and new investment.

The European duo led for most of the match and were two-up with just two to play, but Kerr and Thompson fought back superbly to level the scores by winning both the 17th and 18th.

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After more foursomes and fourballs Saturday, the event will closes with 12 singles matches Sunday.

The two American Brittanys - Lincicome and Lang - took their match in a convincing 3 and 2 win over Florentyna Parker and Masson.

Thompson and Kerr birdied their last two holes to halve the match.

Emily Pedersen's Solheim Cup debut lasted only 13 holes as Salas recorded a rare 6&5 fourball drubbing in the competition with a barrage of birdies in match 2. On the hard, 446-yard 13th hole, Salas used a 3-wood from 203 yards and secured a par that gave the Americans a 6-and-5 victory. Kerr's birdie putt at the next stretched the lead, and they went 4 up at the 10th when Kerr walked in a long birdie putt.

Ghim, the Big 12 Player of the Year at Texas, never trailed in his match with Syme, who had been on a strong run.

"I was relaxed playing with my buddy", Lincicome said.

Creamer wasn't going to Des Moines to represent her country. Sorenstam and her troops will need to say some prayers to those golfing gods if they are to conjure an equally flabbergasting feat.

It's 21 years since Imrie made her one and only appearance in the Solheim Cup at St Pierre back in 1996 but the biennial battle continues to stir her senses like no other golfing occasion.