Sep 6th, 2021
Solheim Cup 2021: Europe take 2 point lead into singles
Europe fight back after USA revival on Sunday morning
Photography: Getty Images
Rookie Leona Maguire, the first Irish player to represent Europe in the Solheim Cup, is having a phenomenal competition claiming 3.5 out of 4 available points.
“You never know how you are going to react in these situations until you are put in them. This is what you practice for. This is what you prepare for. I love team golf. I love match play,” said Maguire.
In the morning, Maguire and Reid teamed up once again as they defeated an out of form Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing 5&4 after a dominant performance.
Team USA took the other three morning foursomes with Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst beating Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom on the final hole 1 up.
“It was huge to get that point. We tried to get the crowd jacked up on pretty much every green, so that way everybody else could kind of hear those cheers,” said Ernst. “Then we started hearing more cheers from everybody else.”
Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare defeated Charley Hull and Emily K. Pedersen on the 17th hole, 2&1. Europe squandered an opportunity to level the match at the 16th where Hull thinned a shot from the greenside bunker and Thompson made them pay when she railed her long birdie at the 17th.
“I missed the fairway [on No. 17] and Brittany got me into a perfect spot,” said Thompson. “All I wanted was her on the green for me to get a putt at it and happened to roll it.”
In the final match, the European duo of Matilda Castren and Anna Nordqvist tasted defeat for the first time going down 3&1 to Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho.
Castren and Nordqvist led by one hole heading into the back nine but they struggled thereafter and with Kupcho's putter running hot the point went the way of America.
“I definitely thrive under this [pressure]. It’s so fun to hear the crowd roar [like after my putts on Nos. 15 and 17]. As a rookie, it’s super exciting for me,” Kupcho said. “I love the sound of it. I’ll keep doing it, hopefully."
SUNDAY FOURSOMES RESULTS – EUROPE 1, USA 3
Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst def. Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom, 1 up
Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare def. Charley Hull and Emily K. Pedersen, 2 and 1
Mel Reid and Leona Maguire def. Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing, 5 and 4
Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho def. Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren, 3 and 1
In Sunday’s afternoon fourballs, Europe managed to turn an early tide of red to regain some of their advantage winning two matches and halving another to end the day leading 9 points to 7.
In the top match, American rookies Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae always looked too strong for Europe’s rookie Sophia Popov and Celine Boutier. Harigae in particular was stunning on the greens as the American pair won 3&1.
“Mina made lots of good putts on the front nine and really got the crowd going, too, from that. It was good,” said Noh. “It was good to have a lead on the front nine for once. I think it was our first time having a lead.”
In match two, it was a competitive battle until the very end, as Carlota Ciganda and Nanna Koerstz Madsen edged out Jessica Korda and Megan Khang of Team USA with a 1-up victory. There was no lead greater than that margin throughout the match for either team.
“If I was in trouble, Carlota played great and the other way around. If she was in trouble, I did some good stuff,” said Koerstz Madsen, a Solheim Cup rookie. “The other girls played really good, so it was a really fun match going back and forth. The crowd was crazy.”
The heroes for Europe in the morning, Reid and Maguire returned to take Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas in match three of the fourballs. The Europeans were behind for much of the encounter and when Kupcho chipped in to win the 17th to go one up it was not looking good.
However, Mel Reid pulled off the shot of the day at the 18th, hitting her second shot to three feet for a tremendous birdie and a halved match.
“We knew the girls were going to be relentless, that we just had to hang in there. We were down for most of the day, which is a position we hadn't been in the last couple days. Tried to be patient, we knew it would turn for us, and just waited for Mel to hit that clutch shot at the end,” said Maguire.
In the final match, Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen made up for the disappointment of the morning foursome by beating Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst by 3&2.
It was a tight affair for the opening nine holes but the European pair slowly built a lead and despite the Americans staying in the hunt, Pedersen closed out the match with a great second to the 16th.
“I was pretty chilled all the way. Emily made a great eagle on the eighth hole, and then I made two good birdies on the back nine on 10 and 11, then she birdied 12,” said Hull. “It just gave us some good momentum.”
SUNDAY FOURBALL RESULTS – EUROPE 2.5, USA 1.5
Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae def. Celine Boutier and Sophia Popov, 3 and 1
Carlota Ciganda and Nanna Koerstz Madsen def. Jessica Korda and Megan Khang, 1 up
Mel Reid and Leona Maguire tied with Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas
Charley Hull and Emily K. Pedersen def. Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst, 4 and 2