It WAS a very noisy early morning at Colorado Golf Club and that was not a good sign for a European team intent on hanging on to a Solheim Cup lead and capturing a first ever win on America’s home patch.
Trailing 5-3 overnight, the USA side were relying on pride and adrenaline to get them going and avoid the heartbreak of successive defeats. The loss in Ireland two years ago still hurts.
The Americans won the session 2½-1½, to reduce the deficit to one point and it was Catriona Matthew who helped keep the momentum swinging in Europe’s favour.
The Scot, who lost both matches on Friday, partnered Caroline Masson against Lizette Salas and Brittany Lincioeme. They lost the second hole and trailed all day until it mattered most. One down playing the 18th, Masson hit a great second shot to eight feet and Matthew holed the birdie put to clinch what could be a vital half point.
Long gone are the days when the Europeans felt inferior and Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall showed just why.
All square in the top match against Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda, Hedwall, a double winner on day one, holed a birdie putt at the long 16th to take the lead.
At the 180-yard 17th, Nordqvist did even better. She had a hole in one to close out the match 2 and 1 and claim a vital point.
But the second match was cruel for the Europeans. Karine Icher and Azahara Munoz fought back from four down after ten holes to all square only to lose on the 18th.
Europe’s great first-day play – a 3-1 win in the foursomes and 2-all draw in the fourballs – was rather overshadowed by a ruling incident at the par five 15th in the afternoon. In the top fourball match and after collaboration between Scot Fraser Munro and American Bard Alexander – the chief official – Europe’s Carlota Ciganda was given an incorrect ruling out of a lateral water hazard.
Instead of taking relief within two club lengths of the hazard, she was allowed to go back 40 yards as would be allowed if it was a water hazard.
She had a horrible lie, but amazingly hit to the side of the green and holed the 15-foot putt for a remarkable half in five to keep the match all square, and she and Suzann Pettersen went on to beat Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson on the final green.
“I’m not happy,” said US captain Meg Mallon. “The thing I’m most unhappy about is that it took 25 minutes and the momentum in our favour had stopped.”