(Edina, Minnesota, September 20 2002) Honours are even at four points each between the USA and Europe after the first day of The Solheim Cup at Interlachen GC in Minnesota.

The USA recovered from a 3-1drubbing in the morning foursomes on Friday and reciprocated with the same scoreline in the afternoon fourballs where thousands of fans witnessed some scintillating golf from 16 of the finest women golfers from each continent on a sun kissed afternoon.

Spain’s Paula Marti and Laura Davies almost committed the golfing equivalent of grand larceny as they took Americans Rosie Jones and Christie Kerr the distance, despite being four down after nine holes. The US pair held on for a one-hole victory.

McKay and Koch striding to victory

Sorenstam and Hjorth left the premises more bewildered than disappointed. The Swedish combination were seven under par after 17 holes, losing to a nine under total in a match plentiful of holes halved in birdie.

“Michelle made every putt she looked at today,” Hjorth said. “Surely she can’t go on like that for the rest of the week.”

Sheehan was delighted with her team fightback.

“My players took it upon themselves to be self-motivated in the afternoon and they were very controlled, and they obviously didn’t panic,” said Sheehan.

“I really have never seen them panic before, and they obviously knew that this afternoon was going to turn around for them. I tell you what, I have got some ‘studmuffin rookie pit bulls out there!”

Reid, delighted at the start to the day was naturally disappointed with the overall score and felt that Europe should have been ahead by at least two points.

“Obviously, after this morning, I would have liked to have been ahead this afternoon, but I think a 4-4 result is quite fair the way everybody has played today,” said Reid.

“I was actually hoping for a 5-3, but, you know, things turn in fourball and I believe most of the Americans putted and played extremely well this afternoon. So, you know, if you are getting beaten by good golf, you can’t complain.”

Saturday’s matches look as if the crowd will witness more of the same drama, but Reid, having studied Sheehan’s pairings against her own is more upbeat about the situation in the fourballs.

Sorenstam partners Koch once again to face Redman and Kerr, while Iben Tinning and Mhairi McKay head off against the rookie pairing of Emilee Klein and Wendy Ward.

The Marti-Davies combination have another chance to impress as they face an out of sorts Juli Inkster and Meg Mallon in the third group, with the devastating grouping of Helen Alfredsson and Suzann Pettersen facing Laura Diaz and Kelly Robbins in a match that has been billed already as a potential firecracker.

“Europe to win 4-0 in those,” said an upbeat Reid.

Nothing would please Reid better than to respond to Dottie Pepper’s critique a few years back when the outspoken American stated that if it was not for the LPGA, the European players would be packing groceries – Saturday morning may well see the golfing equivalent of ‘Dale’s supermarket sweep’.


0745CST Sorenstam/Koch vs Kerr/Redman

0757CST Tinning/McKay vs Ward/Klein

0809CST Davies/Marti vs Mallon/Inkster

0821CST Alfredsson/Pettersen vs Diaz/Robbins