(Edina, Minnesota, September 21 2002) Europe head into Saturday’s afternoon fourballs with a mountain to climb after suffering an unprecedented 3-1 defeat at the hands of the USA in the morning foursomes in The Solheim Cup at Interlachen in Minnesota.
Despite the Swedish duo of Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch making light work of Michelle Redman and Christie Kerr to gain the first blue point of the morning with a 4&3 victory, Reid’s plan for a clean sweep in the foursomes, historically Europe’s strongest suit, backfired when three strong pairings failed to deliver another point.
Scotland’s Mhairi McKay and Iben Tinning from Denmark endured a tough battle with Emilee Klein and Wendy Ward. The Americans started strongly winning two out of the first four holes but the two European rookies rallied and won three of the next four to lead one up after eight.
However, Ward and Kerr were full of determination showed little mercy as they won the ninth, 10th, 12th and 13th and cruise in for a 3&2 victory.
England’s Laura Davies and Spain’s Paula Marti were strong for 13 holes but squandered an opportunity to close out Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster having been one up at the time. Inkster won the 14th after a brilliant tee shot at the par three, resulting in a concession and a stray Davies drive effectively cost Europe the 16th hole when Marti could only advance from thick rough into the greenside bunker, with Mallon firing to ten feet.
And after a booming Marti drive into the right side of the 17th fairway, Davies, who was seemingly tired, blocked her approach shot into the greenside bunker from 130-yards out. Inkster punched a mid iron to 20 feet and when Marti thinned it out of the bunker and into the crowd, Europe had lost a vital point.
Helen Alfredsson and Suzann Pettersen were recipients of a drubbing up until the turn when they were three down against Laura Diaz and Kelly Robbins. But the Europeans, affectionately known as ‘Alfie and mini Alfie’, battled hard with Pettersen making a crucial putt to win the 10th hole.
They Scandinavians then won the 11th and 13th to tie and had the Americans questioning their bottle to close out. But Diaz, a feisty 27-year-old, and Robbins, an experienced five time Solheim Cupper responded by winning the 14th, 16th and 17th for a 3&1 victory.
Reid, who put in her fourball pairings before the matches finished, must now hope that the strong spirit in the European camp will lift them to a reciprocal victory in the fourballs.
Sorenstam and Koch will be keen to post the first point again as they face the flu-ridden Beth Daniel and rookie Wendy Ward – Reid will be banking on a point for Europe considering Koch and Sorenstam are undefeated in the Solheim Cup.
The big hitting Maria Hjorth and equally powerful Iben Tinning take on Pat Hurst and the vociferous Texan rookie Kelli Keuhne. And Laura Davies will change partners to Sophie Gustafson to help the Swede get in the mood for the singles matches.
Karine Icher from France and Spain’s Raquel Carriedo face Christie Kerr and Rosie Jones. Icher, allegedly on top form, is chomping at the bit to claim her first point, so too Carriedo. But Jones will be tough work and full of gamesmanship allied with Kerr.
With the singles matches suiting the Americans in Solheim Cup’s past, Europe now need to pull out all the stops with 16 matches to go.