Europe has edged a step closer to winning the Solheim Cup for the third match in succession.
A wet second morning at St Leon-Rot started with the home team completing a 3-1 win in the delayed first fourball series and they went on to win the second foursomes by the same margin to open an 8-4 lead over the visiting Americans.
However the visitors regained a little momentum when they won the first of the afternoon fourballs before bad light halted play with the other three matches stranded on the course. They will resume in the morning with America one hole up in two matches and Europe ahead by the same margin in the other.
Heading into the final day the score stands at 8-5 in favour of Europe who will need to accumulate six more points from the remaining three fourballs and 12 singles to retain the trophy. The Americans require 9 ½ points from the same 15 games to win the trophy for the first time since 2009.
“It’s a good position to be in but there’s still a lot to do,” said European captain Carin Koch. “Tomorrow every player has to go out there and fight for their point. That’s what they have to. We’re looking forward to it but certainly won’t be easy.”
“At least we have a little bit of red on the board, said Koch’s American counterpart Juli Inkster.” We haven’t seen a lot of that in the last couple of days. But we’ve got to finish. We’ve got to finish those three matches tomorrow. We’ve got to finish the singles strong. I think the Europeans have played really 17 and 18 maybe just a little better than us and we need to buckle down and get those last two holes.”
Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr both went into the second fourballs with one and a half points out of two and they remained undefeated when they completed a fine 3 & 2 victory over Spanish duo Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz.
The Americans set the tone when Kerr won the second with a birdie. Ciganda won the short third with a two but a run of seven birdies in eight holes from the fifth saw Thompson and Kerr claim a three hole lead. Munoz did birdie the 14th to reduce the deficit to two holes but Thompson won the next hole with her fifth birdie of the afternoon before Kerr completed the job with the pair’s ninth birdie of the day on the 16th.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that both Carlota and Azahara would play great golf out there,” said Thompson. “We knew we had to make birdies and that’s what we brought to the table.” “Lexi and I have great chemistry on this team,” added Kerr. “We have a lot of fun playing together. We egg each other and that’s what makes a great team. We knew our team going up on the board would be huge. We knew what we had to do and we knew it wouldn’t be easy. They played great, too.”
The other three matches remain too close to call with America’s Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller one up on Caroline Masson and Caroline Hedwall through 16 holes and their compatriots Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome ahead by the same margin one hole further back.
However there is one blue number on the scoreboard with Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher one up on Lizette Salas and Brittany Lang also through 15 holes when play was stopped for the night. The incomplete matches will start again at 8:45 with the singles schedule to begin at the published time of 10:40.
“It has been a tight match,” confirmed Matthew after she and Salas had recorded five birdies compared to four from Salas and Lang. “I’m going back for dinner and a lot of sleep. Dinner and sleep.”
“We don’t want to think about the current situation,” said Piller who is still undefeated in this week’s match and can take her points tally to two and a half out of three if she and Lewis can maintain their lead over Masson and Hedwall.
“Juli is all about business and that’s the way she’s kept it. She wants us to take care of ourselves, hit good shots, make some birdies and the rest will take care of itself. We’re focussing on that. There are things you can control and things you can’t. You can’t control what they do. You can only control what you do and how you react. So we’re focussing on ourselves and what we can control.”
Friday 18th September
Anna Nordqvist and Suzann Pettersen lost to Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer 3 and 2
Charley Hull and Melissa Reid beat Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome 2 and 1
Karine Icher and Azahara Munoz lost to Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson 2 and 1
Sandra Gal and Catriona Matthew beat Stacy Lewis and Lizette Salas 3 and 2
Europe 2 USA 2
*The last two matches finished on Saturday morning due to poor light on Friday evening.
Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall beat Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer 4 and 3
Charley Hull and Gwladys Nocera beat Alison Lee and Angela Stanford 3 and 2
Melissa Reid and Carlota Ciganda halved with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson
Caroline Masson and Sandra Gal halved with Gerina Piller and Brittany Lang
Europe 3 USA 1
Cumulative Results Europe 5 USA 3
Saturday 19th September
Melissa Reid and Carlota Ciganda beat Alison Lee and Michelle Wie 4&3
Charley Hull and Suzann Pettersen beat Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel 1 up
Sandra Gal and Catriona Matthew beat Angela Stanford and Brittany Lincicome 1 hole
Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall lost to Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller 5&4
Europe 3 USA 1
Cumulative Results: Europe 8 USA 4
*The last three matches did not finish due to poor light on Saturday evening and will resume at 8.45am on Sunday.
Azahara Munoz and Carlota Ciganda lost to Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr 3&2
Karine Icher and Catriona Matthew v Lizette Salas and Brittany Lang (Europe 1 up after 15)
Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull v Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome (USA 1 up after 15)
Caroline Masson and Caroline Hedwall v Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller (USA 1 up after 16)
Europe 0 USA 1
Cumulative Results: Europe 8 USA 5