Europe trail, but it’s close

Gutsy Europe can be happy with their first day’s performance at the Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms in the USA.

Gutsy Europe can be happy with their first day’s performance at the Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms in the USA.
The visiting underdogs trail hosts the United States 4½-3½ going into day two of the Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms after a gutsy showing in the afternoon foursomes when they matched the strongly favoured Americans point for point..
Home captain Beth Daniel got the start she wanted in the morning session, grabbing a 2½-1½ lead after the fourballs, but her opposite number, Alison Nicholas, will have been be buoyed by an all-square afternoon.
Wales’ Becky Brewerton and Frenchwoman Gladys Nocera beat Angela Stanford and Nicole Castrale and Anna Nordqvist joined Maria Hjorth to see off Kristy McPherson and Brittany Lincicome 3&2 and keep the visitors in the hunt of a first ever win on US soil.
Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson lost their foursomes encounter against Christina Kim and Natalie Gulbis 4&2, while Paula Creamer and 49-year-old wild card Juli Inkster engineered a 2&1 win over new British Women’s Open champion Catriona Matthew and her Scottish team-mate Janice Moodie in the last match out.
That represents a reasonable return for Nicholas, who may have feared a much bigger deficit in a morning session that at one stage looked disastrous.
The American’s highly-ranked lead-off pairing of Creamer and Cristie Kerr got the defending champions up and running with a 1-up victory over Pettersen and Gustafson, who endured a tough day, but Europe hit back to level matters when Helen Alfredsson and Tania Elosegui triumphed by the same margin against Stanford and Inkster.
The USA were up after seven holes in that match and square after eight but a strong back nine from Alfredsson and Elosegui ensured Europe’s first point.
Brittany Lang and Lincicome produced a comprehensive 5&4 win over English veteran Laura Davies and Brewerton in match three, a chastening result for Davies, to hand the Americans a 2-1 lead.
And it would have been 3-1 had Matthew not held her nerve to hole a five-foot putt at the 18th to ensure she and Hjorth halved their topsy-turvy encounter with Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie.
The USA require 14 points to retain the cup, while Europe, who have never won on American soil, need 14½ to win it.
Tomorrow sees another round of foursomes and fourballs before Sunday’s potentially decisive singles.
Daniel used all 12 American players on the opening day, with Europe using 11 players, Italy’s Diana Luna being the one to miss out.
Solheim Cup results for August 21 at Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Illinois, United States of America
Fourball (USA names first):

Match 1: Paula Creamer & Cristie Kerr bt Suzann Pettersen & Sophie Gustafson 1-up
Match 2: Angela Stanford & Juli Inkster lost to Helen Alfredsson & Tania Elosegui 1-down
Match 3: Brittany Lang & Brittany Lincicome bt Laura Davies & Becky Brewerton 5 & 4
Match 4: Morgan Pressel & Michelle Wie halved with Catriona Matthew & Maria Hjorth
United States lead Europe 2.5 – 1.5

Match 5: Christina Kim & Natalie Gulbis bt Suzann Pettersen & Sophie Gustafson 4 & 2
Match 6: Angela Stanford & Nicole Castrale lost to Becky Brewerton & Gwladys Nocera
3 & 1
Match 7: Kristy McPherson & Brittany Lang lost to Maria Hjorth & Anna Nordqvist
3 & 2
Match 8: Paula Creamer & Juli Inkster bt Catriona Matthew & Janice Moodie 2 & 1
United States level with Europe 2-2