WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Cristie Kerr became the all-time American points leader the way you’d expect: by draining a putt. The 39-year-old posted her 19th career point on Saturday at the Solheim Cup, surpassing captain Juli Inkster’s record of 18.5. Dame Laura Davies leads the way for Europe with 25.
“She played amazing today,” said partner Lexi Thompson, “walked in so many putts.”
Moments later, Paula Creamer passed Inkster as the all-time leader among Americans in foursomes play with 8.5 career points. Creamer now has 17.5 points overall.
Inkster will gladly watch her records fall if it means the Americans keep winning. Team USA split the foursomes session with Europe on a calm, overcast Saturday morning to maintain a three-point lead. The overall competition stands at 7 1/2 to 4 1/2.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Inkster, who looks to guide Team USA to victory for a second time as captain.
Annika Sorenstam’s team managed to stay alive by securing two points, but they’ll need a strong afternoon session to keep hope alive heading into Sunday singles. Adding to the loss of Suzann Pettersen, Charley Hull, one of Europe’s strongest players, will sit out the entire day due to a wrist injury.
Good thing for rookie Georgia Hall, who along with Anna Nordqvist improved her record to 2-0 in foursomes play, taking down Gerina Piller and Stacy Lewis, 2 and 1. Hall, 21, will be the only player in the competition to play all five matches. Inkster said at the start of the week that no one on her team would play in every session.
“She certainly played like a superstar the last two days,” said Nordqvist of Hall, the partner she only met coming into the week.
Kerr deferred any talk of her own performance in her post-round interview, instead pointing to the birdie putt Thompson made on the first hole as the most important of the day.
She had a similar reaction to passing Inkster on the all-time points list: “I don’t really care about that. Honestly, I never thought about that once … that’s just something to talk about. I just want to help our team win.”
The week started off special for Kerr as she and son Mason raised the flag at the event’s opening ceremony. Annika Sorenstam and her two children did the same for Europe.
“I can’t even tell you how much of an honor that was,” said Kerr. “I’m just glad he didn’t rush the stage before the flag raising.”
Speaking of moms, Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher took down the strong American pairing of Michelle Wie and Daniele Kang, 2 and 1, to give Europe its second point of the morning. Matthew, the oldest European player to compete in the Solheim Cup at 47, now has 21 career points. She’ll go out in the final four-ball match on Saturday with rookie Hall.
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U.S. Solheim Cup Career Points Leaders (Prior to Saturday afternoon four-ball)
*Currently competing in 2017 Solheim Cup