Solheim Cup: Americans hit back despite another win for Leona Maguire

Europe’s three-point overnight lead was reduced to just one as the United States recovered from being down in all four matches early on to win the third session in the 17th Solheim Cup in Ohio.

Lexi Thompson hugs US captain Patty Hurst after holing a 25-foot match-winning putt on the second morning of the 17th Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

Irish rookie Leona Maguire made it three points out of three for European captain Catriona Matthew at Inverness Club in Toledo, beating world No 1 Nelly Korda for the second day running in the foursomes alongside English player Mel Reid.

But, despite promising starts, the other matches all fell to Pat Hurst’s US side, leaving Europe just 6.5-5.5 ahead heading into the penultimate session in the three-day contest.

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“As I was telling the team I think we’ve got to remember that we’re still a point ahead,” said Matthew. “We knew the Americans were going to come back strong at us and they perhaps holed a few more putts this morning.”

Rookie Leona Maguire reacts to clinching her third point in the match at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

No team with a three-point lead after the first two sessions has ever lost, the Americans having gone on to win from that position in both 1998 and 2017.

But, bidding to become the first European captain to record back-to-back successes in the event after a dramatic 2019 victory at Gleneagles, Matthew needed a strong response from her players in the second fourball session to stay on course in their bid to keep that statistic intact.

“The players we have going out this afternoon are up for it and to try and quieten this crowd a little bit,” added the North Berwick woman.

For the second day running, Maguire and Reid took down Olympic champion Korda, who was playing alongside Ally Ewing on this occasion as opposed to her sister, Jessica.

While admittedly helped by Korda being out of sorts, it was another impressive display from the European duo as they put the first point of the day on the board with a thumping 5&4 win.

“We played great all day,” said Maguire, who has taken to this stage in the same way she did when winning four points in helping a Great Britain & Ireland side led by Elaine Farquharson lift the Curtis Cup in 2016.

Reid has also excelled on her return to a playing role after being one of Matthew’s assistants in the win at Gleneagles two years ago.

“To take Nelly down twice is a big ask, and I’m very proud of the way we did it,” said the English player before saying of Maguire: “She’s such an impressive player.”

Despite losing the opening two holes to Georgia Hall and Madalene Sagstrom, Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst then delivered a badly-needed point for the Americans with a one-hole win in the top match.

Time and time again, major winner Hall holed crucial putts, but she was unable to convert a 15-footer at the last that would have secured a halved match.

“We knew we needed to get a point,” said Ernst. “We knew they sent us off for a reason first, and we needed to go get one.”

Shortly afterwards, a huge roar swept across the course as Lexi Thompson rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt at the 17th to give her and Brittany Altomare a two-hole win over Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen.

Referring to the daughter of LPGA Tour player Jane Park, Thompson said: “We came into the day just playing actually for Grace Park.

“It's her first birthday today; she's going through some health problems right now, and we just wanted to keep a smile on our faces for her and keep her in our prayers.”

Capping a brilliant turnaround, Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho also secured a point with a birdie-3 at the penultimate hole against Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen.

“It was huge,” said Salas of the home team winning the session. “At a team meeting last night, people said a few things and today we used it to our advantage to get the job done.”

Foursomes results

Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom lost to Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst 1 hole

Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen lost to Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare 2&1

Mel Reid and Leona Maguire bt Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing 5&4

Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren lost to Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho 3&1

Fourball pairings

Celine Boutier and Sophia Popov v. Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae

Carlota Ciganda and Nanna Koerstz Madsen v Jessica Korda and Megan Khang

Mel Reid and Leona Maguire v Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas

Charley Hull and Emily Kristine Pedersen v Danielle Kang and Austin Ernst

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