|Catriona celebrates a 6&5 win over Paula Creamer in the first singles match|
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew provided a massive boost for the home side when she defeated the formidable Paula Creamer by 6&5 in the top singles match at Killeen Castle.
The Scot’s point gave Europe a 10-8 lead as the home side chased the 14 ½ points required to wrest the trophy back from the visiting Americans.
It was the Scot’s fifth Solheim Cup singles victory in succession during a sequence starting back in 2003 when she defeated this year’s American captain, Rosie Jones by 3&1. She had also defeated Wendy Ward, Laura Diaz and Kristy McPherson before beating Creamer in the top match at Killeen Castle. The only singles Matthew has lost came during her debut back in 1998 when she succumbed 3&2 to current US vice-captain, Sherri Steinhauer.
Matthew’s triumph came two and a half hours after the unfortunate Cristie Kerr had to withdraw suffering from a wrist injury and concede that singles point to her opponent, Karen Stupples.
Matthew won the 577-yard par-5 2nd with a birdie four and was always in front after that. She also won the 3rd and 4th and then eagled the 460-yard par-5 seventh to go four up. The Scot went further ahead with a bogey on the 403-yard par-4 10th and then had to wait through a 50 minute rain delay before finishing the match off with a par on the 463-yard par-5 12th and another on the 392-yard par-4 13th.
“It’s fantastic,” Matthew said moments after holing the winning putt. “When I saw the draw, I knew I would have a tough game, but I played really well.
“I don’t know what it is about (Solheim Cup) singles. I just go out there to try to play my own game. I was just trying to make pars. It’s difficult out here, no matter what the weather conditions are. If I try to make a par, and I make a birdie, that’s good.”
Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson recorded Europe’s third point of the day when she defeated Stacy Lewis by two holes in the second singles. However, Brittany Lang got one back when she defeated German rookie, Sandra Gal, by 6&5 to post America’s first point and take the score to 11-9.
That match was almost as lopsided as the singles featuring Matthew and Creamer.
Gal struggled out in six over par 42 with bogeys on the first, fourth, eighth and ninth and a double bogey on the fifth while Lang was in imperious form firing eight pars and a birdie on the 343-yard par-4 third to go out in 35. Gal did win the 11th but succumbed two holes later.
At that stage the destiny of the trophy was far from decided with most of the other matches still very much in the balance although the two largest leads on the golf course were both held by Americans – Christina Kim who was four up after 12 holes against Maria Hjorth while Morgan Pressel held a two hole advantage over Anna Nordqvist through 16 holes.