Notes: Pettersen shines; Creamer/Kerr slip; more
Friday, August 16, 2013
PARKER, Colo. MORNING MVP: Suzann Pettersen. She’s not the eldest player on the European Team, but she’s the undisputed team leader. Friday morning, Pettersen made huge putts to save par on the ninth and 10th holes to stay even with the Texas two-step of Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford. Pettersen and rookie Beatriz Recari took a 2-up lead on the 16th hole with an eagle, and closed the match on the 17th. Pettersen’s career record is now 6-3-2 in foursomes competition.
Pettersen led Europe to a commanding 3-1 lead after the morning session. It’s the first time Europe has won three foursomes matches since Day 1 of 2005.
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UPSET CITY: Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr lost for the first time as a team, to the unheralded twosome of Karine Icher and Azahara Munoz. Icher played above expectations, while Kerr said the Americans failed to get any momentum.
Icher, playing in her second Solheim Cup, made her foursomes debut this morning.
“I’ll be a good cheerleader this afternoon,” said Creamer, who was left off the afternoon four-ball lineup. Creamer and Korda climbed into the grandstands to rile up the American fans.
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WHAT SHE SAID: “I think everyone would’ve had that down as a win (for the Americans).” – Laura Davies on the Creamer/Kerr pounding.
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BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Stacy Lewis. The top-ranked player in the field certainly didn’t play like it. The U.S. team lost momentum in the middle of the front nine with poor lag putts from Lewis. A flubbed chip shot at No. 12 by Lewis put the Americans 4 down.
Lewis’ partner Lizette Salas, however, made several clutch putts and shots for a rookie kicking things off on the big stage. She proved her worth, despite the 4-and-2 loss.
“I think this afternoon you’ll see a different Lizette and a different Stacy,” Salas said. U.S. captain Meg Mallon decided to put Lewis back out, presumably hoping she finds her form, and benched Salas.
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KUDOS TO THE CAPTAIN: Euro captain Liselotte Neumann made a good decision in pairing Munoz and Icher.
“I think I found a friend for life,” Icher said.
With six rookies on her team, Neumann faced the tough challenge of finding pairings that worked. So far, she has done exceedingly well.
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SIDELINE REPORTER: Sophie Gustafson has played on every Solheim Cup team since 1998. To see the tall Swede walk inside the ropes without her clubs is an odd sight, but it’s nice to see her out supporting the troops.
Gustafson has a second job writing a blog this week (in Swedish). When she stepped onto the first tee Friday morning, she noted in her blog that the atmosphere was no different than when she was a player – except the gag reflex is a lot further down. Moments later, Jessica Korda further proved the point.