U.S. opens up 10.5-5.5 lead heading into Solheim Cup Sunday singles

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U.S. opens up 10.5-5.5 lead heading into Solheim Cup Sunday singles

LPGA Tour

U.S. opens up 10.5-5.5 lead heading into Solheim Cup Sunday singles

The Solheim Cup will stay with the Americans, unless the Europeans can better what the U.S. did in 2015.

The U.S. maintained its overnight three-point lead in Saturday morning foursomes and then built on it in afternoon four-ball, capturing three of four matches in that session to open up the lead to five. Heading into Sunday singles at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, the U.S. leads 10.5-5.5.

Quite remarkably, this is the first time since 1998 that the U.S. leads the Solheim Cup at all entering Sunday singles. (Even more remarkably, the Americans have won four of the eight Solheim Cups between 2000 and 2015 in which they didn’t lead a single one heading into Sunday.)

So the Europeans are in dire straits with a day to go.

The good news for the road team: The last Solheim Cup produced the largest final-day comeback in event history, as the road American squad overcame a 10-6 deficit to win. Of course, the Europeans were the victims then and have a five-point hole (rather than four) to get past here … but a precedent for the wild comeback has been set.

The road team started the day in trouble and treaded water all of Saturday. The U.S. came out firing in morning foursomes, leading all four matches at one point late in the front nine. Europe woke up, though, to make the session interesting.

Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson closed out a 5-and-3 win over Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson in the opening match, and Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst followed suit with their own 5-and-3 thumping of Mel Reid and Emily Pedersen to put the Americans out leading 7.5-2.5.

(With that win Kerr became the U.S.’ all-time point-earner in the Solheim Cup, as she reached 19 points. That surpassed the previous mark of 18.5, set by … Captain Juli Inkster.)

Europe managed to turn the final two matches, as Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall defeated Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, 2 and 1. Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher followed with a 2-and-1 triumph over Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang.

That meant a tie in the morning, keeping the U.S. three ahead at 7.5-4.5.

Afternoon four-ball would produce magnificent golf but push the Euros even closer to despair.

Brittany Lincicome birdied her first six holes and partner Brittany Lang tacked on a hole-out eagle at the seventh to put that team 3 up playing the first seven holes in 8 under. The duo would post a 12-under round overall but got such a fight from Reid and Carlota Ciganda that they still had to play the whole 18 and scratched out a 2-up win.

Nordqvist continued her fine play as she and Ewart Shadoff earned a 4-and-2 win over Lizette Salas and Angel Yin, giving Europe its only point of the afternoon.

Kerr and Thompson remained unstoppable, leading from the start in the anchor match against Matthew and Hall before Kerr put a stamp on it with a bunker hole-out for eagle to win 15.

That moved the pair to 3 up, and they closed out a 4-and-2 triumph a hole later.

Creamer and Ernst finished out making this 10.5-5.5, as the pair got a 2-and-1 win over Icher and Madelene Sagstrom.

There will be 12 Sunday singles matches from which the Europeans must dominate in order to pull out a miracle win. Those tee times have been moved up due to inclement weather, with the finish expected around 4 p.m. ET.

The Euros on the edge, but they are not done. Still, the U.S. going back-to-back looks eminently likely heading into the final day.

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