March 21 2018

LPGA: Team USA sweeps fourball, leads after Day 1 at Solheim Cup

March 21 2018, 12:31 | Sammy Rose

LPGA: Team USA sweeps fourball, leads after Day 1 at Solheim Cup

Annika Signing

Team USA is seeking to win consecutive Solheim Cups for the first time since 2007 and 2009.

Heading into the afternoon fourball matches, the U.S. led the Ryder Cup-style competition 7 1/2 to 4 1/2. This meant that the American ladies only needed three-and-a-half points to defend the cup, which they won back in 2015.

Friday started badly for the Americans, who really aren't as well-suited psychologically or culturally to manage the alternate shots format as are the Europeans.

Ewart Shadoff endured an attack of first-tee nerves as she blocked the opening drive of the day way right and into a creek, although she atoned by holing a huge putt for par only for Thompson to win the hole with a birdie from eight feet. Nordqvist was quick out of the blocks winning the first four holes in a row.

Thompson's heroics appeared to steel the resolve of her teammates, several of whom were behind early, and as the next two hours unfolded the inevitable result crept closer.

"Just look at her performance at the British Open".

She said her team's strength in depth had proved decisive.

Thompson and Kerr birdied their last two holes to halve the match.

Paula Creamer's post-round comment about Georgia Hall, her singles match opponent, sums up the spirit of competition that informed the whole of the 3-day golf extravaganza: "She deserved to win - she was that good".

"So back to the same thing, hit the ball in the fairway". "I don't think I have ever been a part of, or around, a golf tournament where the quality has been this good".

Yin, a first-time Cup player, and Salas, who's playing for the second time, rolled past Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Emily Pedersen of Denmark 6 and 5 with the match ending on the 13th hole when it was halved by pars from all four players.

The pair were two down after 10 holes in the anchor match, but won three of the back nine to win on the 18th.

Solheim veteran Cristie Kerr defeated Europe's Mel Reid 2&1 to remain unbeaten for the week.

Solheim Cup: How day one unfolded.

The United States have extended their lead at the Solheim Cup to 10½-5½ and require just 3½ points from tomorrow's 12 singles matches to retain the title.

There was also joy for Catriona Matthew. Hall missed from 5ft on the 18th green to hand Creamer a 1-up success but it must be hoped the 21-year-old from Bournemouth does not let that sense of disappointment linger for long; Hall's worth to Europe was emphasised by her appearance in all five matches.

Once again, it came down to the final hole as Matthew clawed back a three hole deficit to beat Lewis by one hole.

Matthew's singles against Stacy Lewis was a mere continuation of her never-say-die week.

Spearheading the U.S. charge were Lizette Salas and rookie Angel Yin, who crushed Carlota Ciganda and Emily Pedersen 6-5, tying the second widest winning margin in a four-ball match, just shy of the 7-5 win by Pat Hurst and Rosie Jones in 1998. Nordqvist made the most of her reprieve and a superb 8-iron to gimme distance on the last gave her a half point. He shot a PGA Tour Champions-record 59 three years ago at En-Joie.

Despite rumors of battling a wrist injury, Charley Hull was able to defeat Brittany Lang 1up.

Texas' Doug Ghim eliminated Scotsman Connor Syme 2 and 1 to keep alive the chance of a Longhorns sweep of this year's US amateur titles.

Madelene Sagstrom gained another point for Europe with her victory over Austin Ernst but the damage was already done.

The visitors are competing amid a backdrop of uncertainty over the future of the Ladies European Tour, which has lost seven tournaments from its schedule this year.

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