United States rallies to tie Solheim Cup, 8-8
Saturday, September 24, 2011
DUNSANY, Ireland – The United States staged a dramatic rally to win the afternoon fourball session 3-1 Saturday and tie Europe 8-all at the Solheim Cup.
The Americans rallied to win the last three matches, leaving the sides tied heading into the 12 singles matches on Sunday. The U.S. is trying to win its fourth consecutive Solheim Cup.
Europe won the morning foursomes to extend its lead to 7-5 over the Americans in the biennial match play competition.
Veteran Laura Davies became the all-time Solheim Cup points scorer at 24½ when she teamed up with Melissa Reid to beat Americans Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie 4 and 3 and put Europe ahead 8-5 at Killeen Castle.
In 2005 and 2009 when the matches were tied going into the final day, the U.S. won the singles to lift the trophy. The U.S. needs 14 points to retain the Solheim Cup, while Europe needs 14 1/2 points to win for the first time since 2003.
“I thought we played with a lot of heart yesterday, but coming back and tying up the matches today was just really huge,” U.S. captain Rosie Jones said.
U.S. rookie Stacy Lewis earned her first point when she teamed up with the fellow first-timer Ryann O’Toole to beat Sandra Gal and Christel Boeljon 2 and 1. O’Toole was regarded as a wildcard but proved herself by registering two and a half points.
“I feel very calm and confident,” O’Toole said.
Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr reduced the lead to 8-7 when they beat Europe’s top player Suzann Pettersen and impressive rookie Caroline Hedwall by one hole.
Pettersen holed a 40-foot birdie putt at the 16th to square the match, but Pressel sank a winning birdie at the next and the held on for the win at the last hole.
Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome completed the U.S. comeback when they rallied from one down at the turn to defeat Maria Hjorth and Azahara Munoz 3 and 1.
“Those last three points were huge for us,” said Creamer, who has won three and a half points out of four this week. “Just the momentum, the team room will have a great vibe. We’re all very pumped up. We want to do really well. Especially going into singles, we feel like everybody is where we want to be.”
A four-time major winner, Davies overtook Annika Sorenstam to become the all-time Solheim Cup points scorer. Davies has won 24½ points in 45 matches in 12 Solheim Cups, while Sorenstam won 24 points in 37 matches in eight appearances.
“It’s nice to finally get past Annika, who obviously has a spectacular record,” Davies said.
The 47-year-old Davies will face 51-year-old Juli Inkster in singles on Sunday.
“We’ve messed up the singles so many times,” Davies said. “This time we need to go out there and not worry.”
European captain Alison Nicholas agreed with those sentiments.
“I’m very confident in my players,” she said. “I knew it was going to be all about (Sunday) anyway. I know they’re pretty up for it, and they’re feeling good.”