Europe tighten grip on Solheim Cup

Europe`s grip on the Solheim Cup tightened at Sankt Leon-Rot in Germany after Saturday`s foursomes.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 19, 2015, 20:02 PM IST
Europe tighten grip on Solheim Cup

Sankt Leon-Rot: Europe`s grip on the Solheim Cup tightened at Sankt Leon-Rot in Germany after Saturday`s foursomes.

The two unfinished overnight fourballs both ended halved and the home side then edged the foursomes 3-1 for an overall 8-4 lead over the USA.

The biggest blow for the visitors was an extraordinary defeat in the second foursomes. Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel were four up after 11 holes and seemingly cruising to victory against Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull.

But they lost the 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th holes to birdies and it was a remarkable and unlikely European point.

"Gosh," was Pettersen`s amazed reaction after she had holed a 12-foot putt for the one-hole win.

"Charley was just awesome. I told her to throw darts at the pin and she did. That was a robbery."

"I`m just buzzing," said 19-year-old Hull. "We just suddenly got going and Suzann holed that great putt at the last."

Melissa Reid and Carlota Ciganda, having gained a half point from the delayed overnight fourball, gave Europe the perfect lead in the foursomes with a runaway victory over Michelle Wie and rookie Alison Lee in the top match.

They won four of the first seven holes with birdies and were never troubled in a 4 and 3 victory. Lee, ill with food poisoning earlier in the week, struggled to find form.

"Carlota hits it miles and I have so much faith in her that there`s no stress," said Reid, celebrating her 28th birthday. "I just hope we can bring the Cup home."

But it wasn`t such a happy birthday for American Brittany Lincicome. Thirty on Saturday, she joined Angela Stanford in going down to Sandra Gal, the home German favourite, and Catriona Matthew.

The European duo gained control by winning the first two holes with birdies and then held off a threatened comeback by Stanford and Lincicome.

Three up at the turn, the margin was reduced to one by USA birdies at the 11th and 12th. But Gal hit a superb tee shot at the short 15th and Matthew holed the 12-foot putt for a two to regain the momentum before they held on for a one-hole win.

For Stanford, it resulted in an unwelcome record. She has now lost nine Solheim Cup matches in succession.

The final match was always red, white and blue. It was an easy win for the impressive Gerina Piller and a back-to-form Stacy Lewis.

Lewis, the world number three, has never really shone at the Solheim Cup and she lost in the opening day foursomes. But the pair gelled perfectly and scored a 5 and 4 win over the European standout pair of Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall. The Americans were six under par for the 14 holes.

"It`s awesome to win and it was nice to finally see some putts going in," said Lewis, a two-time major champion.

Playing in her second Solheim Cup, it was Piller`s first full point. "Hurrah," she said. "I got a half point two years ago but it`s great to get my first win. We both played great."