Europe leads by 2 at Solheim Cup
Parker, CO – Suzann Pettersen carried her partner and Europe to a 5-3 lead over the United States after day one at the Solheim Cup.
Pettersen and Beatriz Recari won their morning match 2 & 1. Pettersen played with Carlota Ciganda in the afternoon, but basically played alone. Ciganda helped on two holes, but one was the key to the match.
On the 15th, Ciganda was in the hazard right of the green and Pettersen was out of the hole after putting her third in the hazard as well. After nearly 30 minutes to determine where she could drop, Ciganda scrambled for a par. Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson failed to make their birdie attempts to give the Europeans a halve on that hole.
"Well, obviously, I'm not happy about it. The thing I'm most unhappy about is that it took ... about 25 minutes for this to happen. And from our perspective the momentum, which was coming in our favor at that point in time, obviously had stopped," said Unites States captain Meg Mallon. "Stacy Lewis, who is very adept at the rules, was quite angry about what was happening and I don't blame her. They had the momentum going in their favor, and I think it's not that people made mistakes in rulings, that's not my issue.
"We have four matches out there and we have officials with every group, and it shouldn't take that long for something like that to happen. So I think that's my only, and it's a big one, issue with what transpired, is that not only the momentum of that match, but there were three groups on that hole waiting in the fairway. So, obviously, I'm not pleased, but it's the Rules of Golf, and we have to accept that as a team, and we have to go out tomorrow and play our best and try and get those points back."
Pettersen birdied the 16th at Colorado Golf Club to go 1-up, then made a short par putt at the last to give herself and Ciganda the victory.
Brittany Lang and Brittany Lincicome bested Anna Nordqvist and Giulia Sergas, 4 & 3. That was the third match out, but the first one to be completed in the afternoon fourballs.
Caroline Hedwall and Caroline Masson led wire-to-wire as they beat Americans Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller, 2 & 1, in the second match out.
The Americans took the final match to get within two points. Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie hung on for a 2 & 1 win over Catriona Matthew and 17-year-old Charley Hull, who became the youngest competitor in event history.
Both teams made whole-sale changes after the morning session. European captain Liselotte Neumann broke up all three winning teams from the morning session, while Mallon sat Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda, the only American winners from the morning foursomes, in the afternoon.
Lewis and Pettersen traded two wins apiece in the first five holes before Pettersen made a long birdie effort at the sixth to go 1-up. Lewis birdied the seventh to square the match, then Thompson birdied the eighth and ninth to give the Americans a 2-up lead.
Pettersen got one back at the 10th. Ciganda converted a short birdie try on the 13th to square the match. The teams halved the 14th then the 15th as well.
Afterwards, Brad Alexander, Manager of LPGA Tour Rules and Competition, explained that the drop Ciganda on No. 15 took was wrong, "Rule 26-1 C allows the player to drop within two club lengths of that point on the equal and opposite margin. However, a mistake was made and the player was allowed to drop behind that point in line with the flag stick. The player ended up dropping in a wrong place."
Alexander added that the results will stand in part because Ciganda "was given an incorrect ruling."
Pettersen birdied the next to give her team the lead. She parred the last to close out the point for the Europeans in that match.
"I didn't play very good today, but those two holes, they were important to win and then to tie the hole," said Ciganda. "Suzann had a great day out there. I'm just happy to win the point for Europe."
Nordqvist, who cruised to victory in her morning match, wasn't able to keep the momentum into the afternoon. Sergas birdied the first to give them the early lead, but Lang and Lincicome squared things up at the sixth.
After a pair of halves, Lincicome made a long birdie effort at nine to give the Americans a lead they wouldn't lose. Lincicome followed with another birdie on 10. They halved the next three before Lang holed a bunker shot for birdie.
Sergas and Nordqvist failed to match that birdie and were 3-down with four to go. Lang made a short birdie putt on the par-5 15th to close out the match.
"That's what I was telling Brit. We just needed to get one at a time. We were down, obviously we lost the first hole, it was just one hole after the next and we didn't want to let up on the gas after we got up a few holes," Lincicome said.
Masson birdied the first, then Hedwall birdied the third and fourth to quickly give the Europeans a 3-up lead in the second match. Piller won the fifth and eighth to get within 1-down, but Masson answered with a birdie in the 10th.
Stanford, who lost both her matches by a 2 & 1 margin on Friday, was conceded a short birdie effort at 14 to get within 1-down. After two halves, Piller failed to make her par putt to lose the match.
Wie and Kerr never trailed in the anchor match, and that was big for the Americans. Matthew birdied the ninth from about seven feet out to square the match heading to the back nine.
Kerr drained an 18-footer for birdie on No. 10 and Wie holed a shot from off the green for birdie at 13 to give the Americans a 2-up lead. The teams halved the next four holes to give the Americans the last match.
"I love match play and I love the Solheim Cup," Wie exclaimed. "I just had a blast out here. My goal is to get them going. It's just so much fun."
With that last win, the United States team trailed by two points after day one.
NOTES: Pettersen ran her record to 7-2-1 in fourball action ... Hedwall was the only European player that didn't trail on Friday ... With two losses on Friday, Lewis is now 1-5-0 in her two Solheim Cup appearances.