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Solheim Cup: Europe one point ahead after USA stage late rally at Gleneagles | Golf News

Europe take 4½ to 3½ advantage after day one of Solheim Cup; watch day two live on Sky Sports Golf or Sky Sports Mix from 7.30am on Saturday

Last Updated: 13/09/19 7:57pm

Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz let slip a commanding lead in the fourballs

Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz let slip a commanding lead in the fourballs

Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz let slip a commanding lead in the fourballs

Europe ended an erratic, and slow, opening day of the 16th Solheim Cup with a one-point lead as Team USA staged a late rally with two matches halved on the final hole.

Captains Catriona Matthew and Juli Inkster ensured that all 12 of their players saw some action on day one under sunny skies at Gleneagles, and both teams produced a mixed-bag of golf with Europe’s greater consistency proving the marginal difference.

Suzann Pettersen and Anne van Dam proved an inspired pairing Suzann Pettersen and Anne van Dam proved an inspired pairing

Suzann Pettersen and Anne van Dam proved an inspired pairing

One point ahead after the morning foursomes, Europe avoided a repeat of their opening-day fourballs whitewash in Ohio two years ago and looked on course to open up a three-point advantage when they led in two matches going up the par-five 18th.

But a last-ditch birdie from Lexi Thompson denied Bronte Law and Carlota Ciganda, who had been two down with four to play in a match in which the lead changed hands seven times, while Hull and Munoz frittered away a four-hole lead with six to play and had to settle for a half when Brittany Altomare holed a 20-foot putt for birdie at the last.

1:07
Bronte Law unleashed an Ian Poulter-esque celebration after holing a timely birdie during her Friday fourballs match

Bronte Law unleashed an Ian Poulter-esque celebration after holing a timely birdie during her Friday fourballs match

Suzann Pettersen went a long way to justifying her wildcard selection when she combined well with Dutch rookie Anne van Dam, whose three birdies in four holes put them on course for a comfortable 4&2 win over the feisty Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas, although the issue of slow play was again raised as it took them over five hours to play 16 holes.

Results and Saturday’s draw

Day one results and Saturday morning’s foursomes schedule for the 16th Solheim Cup at Gleneagles

But Swedish stalwarts Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall made only one birdie as they were comprehensively outplayed by late call-up Ally McDonald and Angel Yin, who cruised to a record-equalling 7&5 win which put the first red on the board in the afternoon session.

Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson snatched a half on the last hole Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson snatched a half on the last hole

Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson snatched a half on the last hole

Law and Ciganda followed up their morning half-point with a valiant come-from-behind performance against Thompson and Jessica Korda, the European pair making three straight birdies to turn a two-hole deficit into a one-up lead going up the last, but the home pair were unable to match Thompson’s birdie four.

And, with light fading fast over Perthshire, Hull and Munoz were denied a 100 per cent record on day one when Nelly Korda and Altomare birdied the final three holes to snatch another priceless half for Inkster’s team.

Day one as it happened

How the first day of the Solheim Cup unfolded …

The Korda sisters had earlier created history as the first siblings to play with each other in the competition, and they produced an outstanding performance to crush Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson 6&4 in match three, but that proved the lone win for the holders as Europe headed into the afternoon fourballs with a 2.5-1.5 advantage.

Law’s first taste of Solheim Cup action resulted in a battling half with Ciganda in the top match against Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex, before Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier put the first blue on the board with a 2&1 win over Thompson and Altomare – Thompson’s first defeat in the event since 2013.

Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall won Europe's first point of the day Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall won Europe's first point of the day

Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall won Europe’s first point of the day

Hull and Munoz rounded off an encouraging morning for Matthew’s team with a hard-fought 2&1 victory over Megan Kang and Annie Park in the anchor match, although the European pair made only one birdie in an encounter that was short on quality.

Matthew did spring a surprise with her afternoon line-up when she rested Hall and ensured that all 12 of her players would see some action on the first day, while Inkster also selected the four players that sat out the foursomes, although she also separated the jubilant Korda sisters.

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But Inkster would have been the happier captain as the first day’s action finally ended in freezing conditions, with their two late halved matches preventing a sizeable lead for Matthew’s squad heading into day two.

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