DES MOINES, Iowa (August 17, 2017) – Melissa Reid and Charley Hull will lead out Team Europe in the opening foursomes match at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday morning as Europe begins its quest for a sixth victory in The Solheim Cup.
The English duo defeated Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome 2&1 in the second match on the first day at St. Leon-Rot in Germany two years ago and they are determined to make a similar statement by beating Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson in the biennial competition against the United States this year.
Hull is undefeated in foursomes, having won both of her matches in 2015, while Reid also has a strong record with two wins in 2015 and one loss overall.
The pair will face Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, who are also undefeated together in foursomes having won two matches in Germany.
The foursomes go out in 12 minute intervals and next on the course are Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Caroline Masson of Germany, who will be up against United States team rookie Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas.
Ciganda and Masson are a first-time pairing and Ciganda claimed a point in her first foursomes match of the competition two years ago.
There is an intriguing third match featuring two rookies, with first-time European team member Georgia Hall of England and the experienced Anna Nordqvist from Sweden teaming up against United States team rookie Austin Ernst and Paula Creamer, who has an impressive overall foursomes record (6-3-3) meaning that she has won six matches, lost three and halved three, for 7 ½ points in the format.
Karine Icher of France and Catriona Matthew from Scotland together won their day two four-ball match in 2015 and that partnership will be renewed in the fourth match against Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller. Icher has won one foursomes match, while Matthew has won eight points in the format overall.
Lewis and Piller also formed a strong partnership in 2015 when they won both of their day two foursomes and four-ball matches together, meaning that there will be plenty of experience on the course on Friday morning.
European Captain Annika Sorenstam said that she had wanted to introduce just one of her four rookies on the first morning and selected Hall, who is one of the team’s most in-form players. However, Inkster opted to send out two of her three rookies in Austin Ernst and Danielle Kang. She also added that she did not want to play any of her 12 team members the maximum of five times over the three days.
Returning Captain Inkster said: “I didn’t do anything differently to last time and I haven’t changed my philosophy on the pairings.”
Sorenstam said: “This is my first captaincy and you want to be ready to go and not forget anything, but we are ready to go.”
The two captains went on to confirm both their teams were ready for the start of the 15th playing of The Solheim Cup and were champing at the bit after welcoming huge, vociferous galleries for Thursday’s practice round.
“We are not really used to playing in front of that many people,” Inkster said, adding that she did not think that her team would need any motivation to encourage the spectators to make some noise. “I think our team is more than boisterous. It’s a great experience that these players will have for a life time.”
At the Opening Ceremony, Sorenstam told her players that the passion will be intense and stated: “We will represent the game with courtesy, consideration and class.
“In that spirit, I want to wish Juli Inkster and her team the best of luck. Juli and I have shared many memories over the years as friends and as competitors and I have no doubt that this week will be no different.
“We all come from different cultures and backgrounds but we share the common bond and that’s for the love of the game. We are going to share some amazing memories and first of all, we look forward to the challenge ahead.”
The atmosphere is expected to be electric on the first tee for the Friday foursomes as the two teams begin the contest for honour, pride and the coveted Solheim Cup.
Friday Morning Foursomes Pairings
8.10am Melissa Reid and Charley Hull (EUR) versus Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson (USA)
8.22am Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson (EUR) versus Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas (USA)
8.34am Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist (EUR) versus Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst (USA)
8.46am Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew (EUR) versus Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller (USA)