Team USA swept the opening session for the first time in Solheim Cup history and also won a foursomes session 4-0 for the first time; Team Europe face uphill task in bid for historic Solheim Cup third consecutive victory
By Ali Stafford at Finca Cortesin
Last Updated: 22/09/23 2:00pm
Team Europe made the worst possible start to their bid for a historic Solheim Cup threepeat as Team USA won all four matches in the Friday foursomes at Finca Cortesin.
Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight secured the first point of the contest when they claimed a convincing 5&4 win over Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull, who suffered a neck strain in the build-up to the biennial contest.
Solheim Cup stalwart Lexi Thompson led from the front in the top match and partnered Megan Khang to a topsy-turvy 2&1 win over Swedish rookies Maja Stark and Linn Grant, while Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall’s unbeaten Solheim Cup partnership was ended by Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee.
Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang beat Maja Stark (Swe) and Linn Grant (Swe) 2&1
Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee beat Celine Boutier (Fra) and Georgia Hall (Eng) 1up
Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz beat Leona Maguire (Irl) and Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 1UP
Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight beat Charley Hull (Eng) and Emily Pedersen (Den) 5&4
Boutier and Hall were 1up on the final green to ensure Team USA would win the opening session for the first time since 2009, before Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz completed the clean sweep by defeating Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist by the same margin.
“You could not ask for much more,” Team USA captain Stacy Lewis told Sky Sports. “We knew seeing the pairings those middle two matches were going to be tough, but I saw a ton of fight in my girls and fortunately we were on the right side of it.”
Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen admitted her side had made a “rocky start” and pinpointed putting as the area that needed most improvement going into the afternoon fourballs.
“It was a tough morning. I thought a lot of the girls fought really hard,” Pettersen told Sky Sports. “We’ve just got to stand back up.
“I don’t know if we’re trying too hard, but I feel like there were maybe some easy holes given away early in the morning on the greens pretty much.
“We’ve just got to get some putts dropping, get some momentum going and get the crowds louder.
“It was a rocky start, but sometimes that’s good too.”
Match 1: Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang beat Maja Stark and Linn Grant 2&1
Team USA won the first three holes and Thompson missed a birdie opportunity at the next that could have put them four ahead, only for Stark to reduce the deficit with a par at the sixth and scramble a share of the spoils at the par-five eighth despite finding bushes off the tee.
A par at the 11th and a birdie at the 13th pulled the contest level, before Thompson birdied the 15th to edge back ahead and USA secured victory when the European pair bogeyed the penultimate hole.
“We worked really well together and it was definitely a great win,” Thompson told Sky Sports. “They played some good golf and we knew we had to come out swinging and play hard.”
Match 2: Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee beat Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall 1up
Kang won the opening hole with a birdie before Europe edged ahead with back-to-back holes from the fifth, only for the hosts to respond to losing the seventh hole with a bogey by making a birdie at the next.
Kang and Lee won back-to-back holes to move USA ahead and Boutier converted from 10 feet again to level at the 12th, while Kang holed a monster birdie from the opposite side of the green to snatch a share of the spoils at the 13th.
The contest remained level until the par-three 17th, where Lee made an eight-foot birdie after a brilliant approach by Kang, with a par at the last enough to move the visitors into a 3-0 advantage.
Match 3: Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz beat Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist 1up
Korda found water off the tee at the driveable first but the Americans responded by winning three consecutive holes from the third to move 2up, only for the European to take successive holes from the sixth to level the contest.
Team USA took the ninth and 11th holes before Maguire followed a birdie at the 16th by holing another to match the American birdie at the next, although the Europeans were unable to take advantage of the par-five last as the visitors won a foursomes session 4-0 for the first time in the event’s history.
Match 4: Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight beat Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen 5&4
A par for Team USA was enough to take the par-five second and Ewing went agonisingly close to an eagle at the par-five fourth, with the tap-in birdie starting the run of three consecutive holes won.
Back-to-back birdies from the eighth left Team USA 6up at the turn against an out-of-sorts European pair, who reduced the gap by starting their back nine with a winning birdie at the par-three 10th but were unable to mount any kind of comeback in a one-sided contest.
“We both stuck to our game plan and executed it well,” Ewing said. “It’s such a tough format, you rely and lay heavily on each other, so it’s just to know we’ve got each other’s back. We’re very happy at this point.”
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