The 2017 Solheim Cup matches officially teed off this morning at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, and the European team will head into the afternoon Four-Ball matches with an slight lead after edging the United States 2.5 to 1.5 in the morning Foursomes matches
FRIDAY MORNING FOURSOMES
EUROPE 2.5 USA 1.5
Mel Reid & Charley Hull (EUR) HALVE
Cristie Kerr & Lexi Thompson (USA)
The Americans got off to a quick start, with Lexi Thompson’s bomb of a tee shot at the driveable par-4 first hole leading to a Cristie Kerr birdie that immediately electrified the Des Moines crowd. The Europeans battled back to take the first lead at the par-5 fifth, where Kerr was forced to make a scary punch-out from behind a tree and a nice approach from Mel Reid led to a winning birdie from Charley Hull.
The Europeans extended their lead to 2 up through 16 when Hull converted a masterful chip-in for birdie at the par-4 16th. But Team USA took the 17th with a par from Thompson, and in her signature style, Kerr walked in her birdie at the 18th to secure the halved point.
“We made a huge par on 17, and sometimes all you need in this format is just a little bit of momentum,” said Kerr. “And then we played a perfect hole on 18 to get the halve and it was very necessary.”
Danielle Kang & Lizette Salas (USA) WIN 1 UP
Carlota Ciganda & Caroline Masson (EUR)
Danielle Kang took her opening tee shot among rowdy American cheers, pumping up the crowd for her first shot as a Solheim Cup player. Kang and Lizette Salas rode that momentum to a winning birdie at the first hole. Another birdie, this time from Salas, at No. 5 extended the American advance to 2 up over Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson.
The Europeans stayed close, with Masson’s 20-foot birdie at No. 11 cutting the American lead to 1 up. At the par-3 14th, Salas’ tee shot went over the hole and they could not convert the up and down.
With the match now all square, Europe found trouble off the 15th tee and needed a TV crane moved to hit their second shot. Ciganda eventually power-lipped out a short par attempt and the USA regained a 1-up lead. Salas’ superb chip from the right rough at the par-4 16th led to Kang’s hole-winning 4-foot birdie putt. That putt turned out to be the winning shot, as although the Europeans won the 17th to take the match to No. 18, the Americans ultimately prevailed, 1 up.
“It’s my first full point in alternate shot, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner – for alternate shot or just Solheim Cup in general,” said Salas. “So I’m really proud of us. And really proud of her for stepping it up and carrying me, inspiring me and pushing me through it. It was tough coming down the stretch, and, for me and — but we did it.”
Anna Nordqvist & Georgia Hall (EUR) WIN 3 AND 1
Paula Creamer & Austin Ernst (USA)
In a match that featured two seasoned veterans and two Solheim Cup rookies, it was the European duo of Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall that never trailed en route to a 3-and-1 win over Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst of the USA. The European side took the early lead when the Americans bogeyed the par-4 second hole. Nordqvist and Hall extended the advantage to 2 up on several occasions, although Creamer and Ernst kept the match close through 15 holes.
But at the par-4 16th, Creamer’s tee shot found the gallery and led to bogey. And when the Americans could not convert par at No. 17, they conceded the European par and victory.
“Georgia is a rookie but she certainly didn’t play like one,” said Nordqvist. “I’m very happy to be her partner today, and she played great. And made a few putts in there, too.”
Karine Icher & Catriona Matthew (EUR) WIN 1 UP
Stacy Lewis & Gerina Piller (USA)
The Americans were seemingly well on their way to victory after Gerina Piller’s 8-foot birdie at the par-3 third hole and a 12-footer from Stacy Lewis at the par-5 fourth. The American duo held a 2-up advantage over Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew through 12 holes.
But from there the match quickly turned, thanks to Icher’s hot putting hand. Her 40-footer for birdie at No. 13 cut the American lead to 1 up, and another Icher birdie at No. 14 squared the match. The Europeans took their first lead at the 16th hole, when Icher made a short par putt and Lewis and Piller both missed their putts. Finally on 18, Lewis blasted her 30-foot birdie 8 feet past the hole, and Piller’s comeback attempt came up just short.
“It was a tough game at the beginning; they gave nothing,” said Icher. “They played great. They are both really, really good players. So obviously it’s not easy to beat them. We’re not the favorites. But the door opened on the 13 and 14, and we took it, yeah. It’s a great feeling now.”