Solheim Cup: Madalene Sagstrom backed to handle rules controversy

Captain Catriona Matthew is confident that Madalene Sagstrom can shrug off yesterday’s rules controversy to help keep Europe on course for victory in the 17th Solheim Cup.

Madelene Sagstrom lines up a putt on the 18th green during the foursomes on day one of the Solheim Cup at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

With the visitors leading 5.5-2.5, the Swede is being sent out first by Matthew along with Georgia Hall in the second-day foursomes at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

It’s a bold move by the Scot after Sagstrom was left in tears at the end of the second session after being deemed to have broken the rules when she picked up Nelly Korda’s ball at the side of the hole.

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According to the rules official with the match, the ball had been overhanging the hole and Sagstrom hadn’t left it sitting for the required 10 seconds.

“It was a pretty fuzzy picture we were shown, and it was inconclusive, I would have said,” declared Matthew of the incident.

“They did say that I think JP (LET official Joao Pinto) had looked at it at the TV studios and he had said it was slightly overhanging. Obviously we have to go with that.

“One hundred per cent, I believe Madelene did not for one instance think that ball had any chance of going in the hole when she picked it up, and I don't honestly believe Nelly or Ally actually thought it was going to go in either.

“There was no reaction when Madelene picked up the ball and threw it to them. It's just an unfortunate incident, kind of mars such a great day of good golf.

“They were in a tight match, and you hate to see things decided by a ruling. By the book, it was the exact right ruling and we're not going to question that one bit. Hopefully we can put it behind us and we just have to get on with it again tomorrow.”

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Solheim Cup: Europe lead but opening day shrouded by controversy

Sagstrom, who is playing in her second Solheim Cup said she didn’t agree with the decision about the ball being on the edge of the hole, admitting “it sucks right now as it feels I let my team down”.

On deciding to send her straight back into battle in the third session on Sunday morning, Matthew said: “I fully think Madelene can handle this. She's a very relaxed character. Obviously she was very upset at the time but will have time to calm down a little bit.

“I honestly don't think any of the players did anything wrong, so she's got nothing to feel bad about, to be honest.”

Having already tasted success on home soil at Gleneagles in 2019, Matthew is bidding to become the first European captain to record back-to-back wins.

“Obviously absolutely delighted,” she said of the position at the end of the opening day. “We got off to a fantastic start winning 3½ to a half and obviously 2-2 in the afternoon was a solid result for us.

“We knew the Americans would come back fighting, and to get through that session without losing it was great. Would have taken that in heartbeat.”

Sunday Foursomes

12.15pm Georgia Hall/Madelene Sagstrom v Danielle Kang/Austin Ernst

12.27pm Charley Hull/Emily K Pedersen v Lexi Thompson/Brittany Altomare

12.39pm Mel Reid/Leona Maguire v Nelly Korda/Ally Ewing

12.51pm Anna Nordqvist/Matilda Castren v Lizette Salas/Jennifer Kupcho

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